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  1. - Top - End - #241
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kallisti's Avatar

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Zolkabro View Post
    Critique of From Absent Friends
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    The pacing in this is brilliant, I think it flows very well.
    I think "I must" say sounds better that "must I", and I don't know if i am just reading it differently from the others, but I find the 4th and 5th lines of the 2nd paragraph to have just as good pacing as the rest, and the rest is great!
    (EDIT: Just realised that that is because you already changed it. I think "this day" is better than "today". On the 5th line, I think it is better as it is than the suggested changes. Keep it as the original in my opinion.)
    I also like the way that the rhymes are there, but they don't seem like an integral part of the poem. It sometimes annoys me when poems are full of rhymes that aren't actually necessary, and sacrifice the flow to get them. This does not have this problem, however, which is excellent.
    I always like to add something to improve, but I'm not sure what!
    Thanks. You're very kind.

    You really think "this day" is better? I think it sounds a little less mundane, but that the stress on "this" sounds off. Ordinarily you stress the "day" in today but today doesn't sound too bad--this day makes it sound like I'm emphasizing the 'this', which is not my intention. I keep wanting it to be "the only gift I have to give," but that would throw off the rhyme scheme...
    "Once upon a time, a story was never finished..."

  2. - Top - End - #242
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Kallisti View Post
    Thanks. You're very kind.

    You really think "this day" is better? I think it sounds a little less mundane, but that the stress on "this" sounds off. Ordinarily you stress the "day" in today but today doesn't sound too bad--this day makes it sound like I'm emphasizing the 'this', which is not my intention. I keep wanting it to be "the only gift I have to give," but that would throw off the rhyme scheme...
    I think that stressing the first syllable of today just doesn't sound right. You can do it, sure, but it doesn't come naturally, and the pacing of a poem has to come naturally, because you can't have the author peering over their shoulder going "No, it's like this!"
    People will read it how it fits best in their minds, , and today doesn't fit anywhere near as well as this day. Even if it does after thought, it needs to straight off.

  3. - Top - End - #243
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kallisti's Avatar

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

    I just checked the roster and apparently I had eight critiques and two stories. With the critique I posted of The Vision, that makes three unspent critiques, so I figure I'll post the other graduation-day poem (since it's urgent and all). This one shouldn't be considered as one of the free slots, since I already took one and I have three critiques.

    Untitled Rondel
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    My time with you has been a gift
    Smiles shared, hours well-misspent;
    And so, to celebrate, may I present
    The sullied page I pass off as my gift.

    Would that our days I could shift
    From Yesterday were they were sent!
    My time with you has been a gift
    Smiles shared, hours well-misspent.

    Though parted by an ocean’s yawning rift
    Let these words remember me as they are meant:
    Not a single misused moment I repent—
    My time with you has been a gift.
    "Once upon a time, a story was never finished..."

  4. - Top - End - #244
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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

    Roster updated.

  5. - Top - End - #245
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Note: I do not appear to be on the roster.
    James/TheDoge Avatar by Ceika!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TravelLog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SamBurke View Post
    *snip* ...Hands down the funniest class critique ever... *snip*
    I cannot tell you the number of times I laughed while reading this.

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    First Place Pathfinder Grab Bags:
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  6. - Top - End - #246
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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

    Quote Originally Posted by SamBurke View Post
    Note: I do not appear to be on the roster.
    You definitely are, I remember putting you there, but I may have put you in the wrong place in the alphabet.

    EDIT: Nope, just checked, you are there and in exactly the right place.
    Last edited by Zolkabro; 2011-06-15 at 11:48 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #247
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Can I have a link, then... I'm probably looking in the wrong place.
    James/TheDoge Avatar by Ceika!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TravelLog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SamBurke View Post
    *snip* ...Hands down the funniest class critique ever... *snip*
    I cannot tell you the number of times I laughed while reading this.

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  8. - Top - End - #248
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Cristo Meyers's Avatar

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

    Quote Originally Posted by SamBurke View Post
    Can I have a link, then... I'm probably looking in the wrong place.
    I think this is the roster here.

    Debating putting some of my own stuff up, if there's freebie slots left. Mayhap if things don't pick up in the next few days.

    *edit

    Figure I could actually contribute something instead of standing smug on the sidelines , though I was never very good at putting this kind of stuff into words

    Critique of The Vision by Omeganaut

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    There's a kind of wry cynicism to the ending that I really enjoyed (and it has nothing to do with working as a cubicle wage-slave myself...nope...no-sir-ee...), and that humor sticks pretty well throughout the passage: the voice coming on "strong as any announcer" had me smiling and immediately thinking of a game show announcer (My new prophet...COME ON DOWN!)

    I'm not sure how well this stands on its own, though. It seemed like an opening to something, rather than a stand alone passage. Which, of course, may have been the intent. If so, ignore me.


    I won't try and say that this counts as a critique, I know next to nothing about critiquing poetry:

    Untitled Rondel by Kallisti

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    The only thing that stood out to me was the use of "misspent". I keep thinking that maybe instead of invoking the "time well wasted" adage you should just go with "spent."

    But, again, know next to nothing about poetry.
    Last edited by Cristo Meyers; 2011-06-16 at 08:50 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #249
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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

    The thread has kind of died down a bit, so here is another story to get the wheels turning again.
    There are still free slots left, but please critique all the same.

    This story is set in the future, from the point of view of an alien who came to Earth. I wrote it about a year and a half ago, so the style of writing is probably fairly different to my other submissions.

    My Life as an Earthling, Sci-fi
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    Dear Diary
    I am on the Star Trooper™ heading for Heathrow Spaceport. I come from Qwyhstxnfgj. I am doing a tour of the universe. I have been to all three moons of Qwyhstxnfgj, and now I am going to the other side of the galaxy. Soon I shall reach Earth. I shall keep a record of all that I do there. I think humans call it a 'diary.'

    Day One
    10:00 p.m.
    It's been a long day. I woke up in the Year of the Chimpanzee, on the Third Moon of my home, Planet Qwyhstxnfgj - which for some reason these two-legged beasts can't pronounce - and now I am on Earth, in the year 2073. I just don't understand the Earthlings' calendar. However, that's a minor problem. The worst thing is, I am surrounded by humans. It's absolutely disgusting. I mean, for one thing, they only have two eyes. I'm surprised they don't spend half their time peering around behind them, because in Qwyhstxnfgj my sixteen eyes pointing in all different directions are completely necessary for survival. You always need to be able to see everything in Qwyhstxnfgj. But here, there isn't danger like that. I've only been here half a day, but I've already been classed as a 'paranoid freak' by John, the hotel-owner. Apart from that, though, he has been very hospitable.
    I expected to be the only alien here; but actually there is a Vompoon from Vyropolis, a Gronkle from Xygo, an Othyran from Titan, and a Shchoztlcoglos from Shchozltcoglovillia; all living in my hotel. It's lovely company, really. This is the first planet I have ever been in that has so many intergalactic cultures. Especially London. London has so many aliens.
    "A multicultural society is a happy society," I remembered my mother saying to me.
    I see aliens everywhere, it's wonderful. Despite those horrid two-legged things, this could actually turn out to be an enjoyable holiday!

    Day Two
    11:00 a.m.
    I got up late today, at nine o'clock, and found carefully laid in my room was a kettle of water, a tray with food on it, and instructions of how to use the shower. It took me a while of searching through my trusty handbook, "Horrible Humans and How They Live," to find out what a shower is, and what it is for. It seems that humans generate some kind of artificial rainstorm, called a shower. First it sprays you with plain water; then with antiseptic water; then with soapy water; then with more antiseptic water; then with more plain water to rinse it all off; and finally with boiling gases to dry you. There were two sets of controls, one designed to be operated by hands, the other designed for tentacles. I thought that was very kind of them. Using it was rather fun. I don't know why, I just get this childish joy out of being sprayed with water for ten minutes.
    I ate the food provided, then spat it out again.
    "That's disgusting!" I cried. I looked it up in my handbook, and found that this was bread, burnt by some kind of machine, then with a yellow dairy product spread all over it. Why ruin a perfectly good piece of bread?
    I tried the hot water, and it seared my throat. I realised that I was meant to pour it out of the kettle into the mug, and then, according to my handbook, drop a little bag into it. The book said:
    "This drink is called 'tea.' Most artificial foods of humans do not stay popular for more than a century, however this drink is very important to British humans, and they consider it their national drink."
    I tried it, and found that it wasn't too bad. It was better than the burnt bread, at least. I would have much preferred some Qwykzande, (my favourite beverage), so I went and got some from my travel kit, and drank some. I smiled. Then, I had an idea.
    I poured some more water into the mug, and then added Qwykzande. I reached forward to pour it down my throat, gripped the handle, which promptly came clean off. I looked in terror as the mug was eaten away and then slowly the table started to get eaten as well. I ran to my bags and pulled out another book, "What not to do with H2O" and looked up Qwykzande. Apparently, it produces a deadly acid. I read, on finding that certain chemicals in my bloodstream made it safe for me. I gingerly touched the puddle eating at the carpet, and steam rose. I saw that my tentacle was now dry as bone, but safe. I stuck it in the shower to get it moist again, and cleaned up the mess. I had no idea how I was going to explain the damage to John.
    However, later it turned out that I needn't have worried. As I started to explain, he looked at me with a slight smile, and a raised eyebrow.
    "…the tea didn't taste nice, and, well I'm sorry, but, I added -"
    "Quicksand,"He finished, in his heavy Scottish accent. "You added quicksand, didn't you, lad?"
    I nodded guiltily. I was surprised that he even knew the word.
    "Don't worry." He smiled. "You're not the first. You'll still have to pay for it, though."
    "Although, may I ask, how do you know about Qwykzande? I thought earthlings didn't drink it."
    "We don't drink it, no, but it is quite common in marshy areas." He explained.
    I frowned. "It wouldn't be in marshy areas." I muttered. "Are we thinking of the same thing?
    "Quicksand, right?" He said. "Yeah, sucks you down into the earth. A real pain"
    "Write it down." I insisted
    He wrote: 'Quicksand,' quickly, in neat handwriting.
    "No, no no!" I exclaimed. "This!" I wrote: 'Qwykzande,' writing it slowly and deliberately, and very messy.
    "Never heard of it," he said.
    "I think that you have, you just misunderstood. It sounds so similar to quicksand."
    "Wow!" He chuckled. "I've been saying that wrong for years!" He slapped himself on the forehead. "John, you are a fool!" He muttered to himself.
    I took advantage of the distraction, and slunk off before he noticed that I hadn't paid.

    Day Three
    6:00 p.m.
    I went to a pub today. I drank five bottles of beer. It turned out to be delicious. I like the way it fizzles down my throat. I also liked the inviting atmosphere of the pub. It was very cosy, with plenty of people. The only problem was, some people were behaving incredibly inappropriately. There were a group of them singing sea shanties in a corner, with their arms around each other; one person was doing a jig on a table; people kept throwing bottles; and many others were just staggering around with a crazed grin, and disturbingly wide eyes.
    When I was halfway through my fourth bottle, I noticed everybody looking at me expectantly, as if something strange happens when you drink four bottles of beer. They seemed rather disappointed when nothing happened. I wonder why.
    Nothing else of interest happened today. I had a look around the neighbourhood. There wasn't much to do.

    Day Four
    3:00 p.m.
    Late this morning, John explained to me what had happened in the pub.
    "When you have a lot of beer," he explained, "it tends to go to your head, lad. You can't think straight, and you do darn stupid things. Aye, drink shall be our downfall, one day. It makes the greatest men act like fools. I don't know why it didn't affect you, lad, but you're lucky it didn't. Whatever chemicals you aliens have in your blood, it makes you a whole lot healthier than us, aright lad?"
    "Thanks. Is that what those men looked as though they were waiting for?" I asked.
    He frowned. "Aye, probably. Don't be worrying about them, lad. They're probably just people who wanted to tease you when you got drunk. There be too many men like that in this world, you mark my words," he told me sternly.
    After John had explained all this, I made my way to the apartment of Gronkle, from Xygo, who had invited me for lunch. Gronkle had been on Earth for several years now, living in France. His species conversed using only complex movements, not sound, therefore the first language he had learnt to speak was French.
    I sat awkwardly at his table, wondering how I was going to explain that I don't eat human food, when he suddenly paraded in, cradling in his arms a large metal dish with a cloth over it.
    "Voila!" he exclaimed, dramatically removing the cloth to reveal silicate ratatouille, a French version of an intergalactic delicacy.
    "Fantastic!" I cheered. "I thought I would have to put up with human food! This is great!"
    "Ooh la la, no!" He whipped out from under his coat a frost-coated flask, and with a toothless grin, and a grotesque wink, he said: "Bon appétit!
    I took the flask, and found, to my delight, that it was full of beautifully cold hydrogen! I tipped some down my throat, and grinned broadly.
    "I haven't had a good cup of hydrogen in ages!" I smiled.
    "Well, now you have, mon ami," he replied cheerfully.
    I dug hungrily into my silicate ratatouille, savouring every bite. It was wonderful to have a food that I was used to at home in this strange place. It wasn't quite as good as my mother made it, but it was still very well cooked.
    "How did you cook this plastic?" I asked incredulously. "It's so sweet and soft!"
    Gronkle merely tapped the side of his nose - which looked very difficult, as it is right on top of his long head - and sauntered of with my empty dish.
    I went home, for the first time in too long, with a full belly and in a good mood.



    Day Five
    5:00 p.m.
    I had a look at the tourist attractions in Central London today. I loved the Millennium Sphere. It spun you round slowly, in transparent antigravity force-fields, so that you could see all of London, the huge sphere rotating all around. According to my handbook, the Sphere used to be known as the Millennium Wheel, or the London Eye, and it was a 2D circle rotating round and round, in weak glass pods. I smiled at these primitive humans' supposed 'revolutionary' ideas.
    It was also fun watching at Brobdingnagian Ben. Another landmark that had changed over the years, this used to be called Big Ben, and it was a large clock tower. Now, it is an unimaginably massive, immense clock, suspended by a steady jet of oxygen coming out the bottom, towering over London. Apparently, for a few years the jet had been fire, but it was so hugely damaging to the environment that they did a huge project to convert it while it was still in the air. If they had taken it down, it would have crushed a large portion of Central London.
    I also climbed the famous flood barriers of the Thames, put there in 2057, after the so-called "Great Flood," the largest flood London has ever known. London survived at the time, and very few people were killed, and only the houses literally right next to the river were knocked down. Everything else was just minor damage. My handbook said that at the time scientists had said that if the flood had happened around fifty years ago London would have been very severely damaged, as most houses were, amazingly, made of brick! Honestly, these humans are ridiculously primitive.
    I ate supper in the Andromeda Café, an alien-only restaurant. I was a little bit affronted at being called an "alien," but the food was far better than my usual meals, so I didn't mind too much. They served food from Andromeda, a galaxy far from my home, and therefore the food was still quite unfamiliar. However, it was cooked in a similar style to Qwyhstxnfgj's food, so it was still a surprising treat.

    Day Six
    9:00 a.m.
    This is my last entry in my Earth Diary. Soon I will be entering Terminal 43, at Heathrow Spaceport. Next stop on my tour of the universe I shall be going to Alpha Centauri, and then to some other stars. Perhaps I shall return one day, but I doubt it.
    I think this has been a life changing experience. Earth is such a different place from my home, Qwyhstxnfgj, and yet in many ways, it is so similar. The two-legged creatures may be disgusting beasts, but in their eyes, so am I. I feel ashamed that I hardly realised that they still have feelings, and brains. They still make progress, make new discoveries, new inventions, and revolutionise their technology again and again. The technology is primitive compared to mine, but centuries ago, the technology of my people was at the same level as theirs.
    I came here disgusted by the nauseating humans, and now I am almost sorry to leave.

    Good bye, earthlings.
    Good bye, Earth.

    Look out for my other diaries from my tour of the universe, available in every major intergalactic bookshop:
    The Moons of My Home
    Milky Way, But No Sugar
    My Life as an Earthling
    Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta
    My Andromeda Adventure
    Smoking in the Cigar Galaxy
    Shooting With Comets
    Drowning in Whirlpool Galaxy
    Triangulum isn't Triangular
    The Last of Omega Centauri
    Last edited by Zolkabro; 2011-07-05 at 02:09 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #250
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Omeganaut's Avatar

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

    Critique of Zolkabro's My Life as an Earthling
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    I feel like the introduction is far too choppy and factual to really bring in readers. I'd add in more description, more personal details, and a hook to really bring readers in. Even aliens need to sell their books to scanning customers. Also, did you think about jet lag? It may not apply, but it could be something to think about.

    I think that aliens would find 'bread' a strangely cooked grain, and i feel that the author would comment on that, rather than the sanctity of bread.
    I saw that my tentacle was now dry as bone, but safe.
    This doesn't really flow. Something more like "My tentacle dried up on contact, but fortunately was not hurt by the acid."
    Also, I don't think the alien would be foolhardy enough to just drink the tea if he can feel how hot it is. He would just notice the heat by touch, and then look it up.
    writing it slowly and deliberately, and very messy.
    If he was writing slowly and deliberately, he would think it was just plain messy. However, it could certainly be messy compared to the hotel owner's handwriting.

    For the pub, I'd mention how quickly he drank the beer. If he drank it slowly, most humans would not really be expecting much. If he drank them quickly in close succession, most humans would expect him to get drunk. Also, I'd be surprised if humans didn't encourage him to try a variety to alcoholic beverages, and maybe try to get him to have a big glass of a strong liquor, just to see his reaction. If they wanted to make fun of him when he got drunk, then that behavior would fit in perfectly. Also, he would have done little that day before going to the pub, mentioning it after disrupts the temporal progression.

    I can't help but think it odd that Gronkle's species has a non-verbal language, yet he can learn to speak french. Also, if the author can't eat human food, what has he been living off of? He would be very uncomfortably if all the food he had was inedible hotel food to eat for almost three days.

    Why does it take the author so long to go see the tourist attractions? If he is vacationing on Earth, and he is uncomfortable with the food and the people, he is obviously not going there to relax. Therefore he would want to go see the sights, and according to his diary, he doesn't do much the first four days. Spending one day on the sights is really a waste of almost a week in a strange world. Also, I feel that extra-terrestrial would be the politically correct term for visitors from other planets, and that alien would only be used in a derogatory way (like other scientific terms that have become insulting to certain groups).

    At the end, there is a sudden change of heart from the author. He has spent five days complaining about humans, and then suddenly he accepts them. What brought about this change? It should definitely show in the journal his gradual acceptance for the people of planet Earth. The author also has a very human social instinct, hesitating and fleeing from uncomfortable conversations. Is this intentional?

    I hope this helps you.
    I have returned, and plan on focusing on world-building. Issues are being dealt with.

    Quote Originally Posted by MesiDoomstalker View Post
    Thread won! I don't think I have the authority to do that but whatever

  11. - Top - End - #251
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Cristo Meyers's Avatar

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

    Critique of Zolkabro's My Life as an Earthling

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    The first thing I noticed, and this is just kind of a thing for me, is that the narrator's writing skips from using contractions to not and back again. If he really isn't all that familiar with our language(s) I don't think he'd be mixing contractions, he'd probably wouldn't use them at all.

    Overall, I laughed a bit. I think that there's a potential for a bit of fish-out-of-water satire here: poking fun at the strange things we do because, to an outsider, they really would be strange (the bar).

    I think that you could also expand on what's actually in his handbook. I couldn't help but wonder what's in a book titled "Horrible Humans and How They Live." Especially when it seems like everything in it is actually accurate.

  12. - Top - End - #252
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Hey, here is a continuation of my Exalted stories about Sanalos, but this is from the point of view a Sidereal who is surprisingly idealistic for her kind.
    I am however worried that this four-art story isn't as good as Crashing Wave, and I wrote it before I had the Sidereal book so please point out if I did anything wrong.

    Saint of the Stars
    part one.
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    Saint of the Stars: The Vision



    She looked out upon the Loom.
    
Cats Eye Lantern's Shining Brilliance-Cats Eye for short, Cats Eye's Ridiculously Long Name to her detractors and "Brilliance" to all those who wish to woo her, for they loved to compare the last word of her name to the pitiful light that were the Solars, for surely their glory couldn't stand against the brilliance of your beauty, such attempts at a pick up line only made Cats Eye roll her eyes, or if was particularly stupid, to perform the ancient martial arts move Male Stupidity Sends You Flying Again, a powerful punch performable only by females and only when it would be funny because the Pattern Spiders would deem it so, it sent the offending male flying into the sky for their stupidity. It might be the only martial arts move universally known throughout Creation, despite never actually being taught. Apparently it was instinctual. 


    - stood in her monochromatic blue outfit. From her Sidereal-given top and baggy pants and shoes sparkling with the light of the stars themselves to her mundane sash, scarf and bandanna, it all that she wore was blue, even her eyes were blue with blue stars in her eyes, all of which was befitting a Chosen of Serenity. What stood out however was her short, straight blond hair.
She saw many things in the loom: The Solars returning, the Scarlet Empress gone, the Realm breaking, the Lunars marching in to take Creation for themselves- all the while the things she couldn't see, Malfeas, the Infernals, the Fae, the Underworld and the Abyssals ran rampant and unchecked by all the forces fighting against each other.
She didn't need to look over her shoulder into Yu-Shan to see perhaps the worst thing of all: The Sidereal factions animosity starting to deepen.
The Bronze and Gold Factions were starting to conflict and argue more and more. With the reappearance of the Solars, its obvious that a Sidereal Civil War was not a long ways off. The Bronze Faction was the majority and was led by Chejop Kejack- the Gold Faction in all probability will lose to superior numbers and power, and the Sidereals will only continue to oppose the Solars, when unity was needed to fight the growing threats against Creation.
However that wasn't even the main concern of a Sidereal Civil War.

    The Sidereals were caretakers of the Loom. If they stopped their duties too long in their war, a long war of subterfuge and assassination and of manipulating fate, the Loom would unravel and Creation would return to Unshaped Chaos.

The Sidereals fighting themselves, would be just as bad as the entire Wyld invading Creation all at once.

The world was, in short, teetering on the edge of the Abyss, with everyone trying their hardest to push it off the cliff. She looked on, hoping that she would get a brief glimpse of the future that could help her save all of Creation.

    It was humbling, how an Exalted was seemingly all powerful- until they remembered there was ten-thousand and a few hundred something people like them. She couldn't do anything if it just meant that someone would just mess up her plan. Things were desperate enough to look into the Loom and see what vision of the future it would give her- if it would give her anything at all.
 So she looked into it with all her faith and hope, like every day before today. It was nearing the end of her free hour, if she didn't receive a vision, she would have to get to her Sidereal duties, another day of dealing with jerk gods and elementals, another day of correcting and untangling Threads in the Loom while Lunars, Solars, Terrestrials and all the other Exalts and Gods pulled and tugged it every which way in an endless tug of war straining the Loom to its limits, threatening to snap and end Creation forever.

    Please
    she pleaded to the Loom itself
    Give me hope, give me something to save us all.....please.....I need this....

    However none were coming.
 It had been 59 minutes, she was about to turn to leave when suddenly three things flashed before her eyes. 
First Cats Eye saw herself holding a plain white mask as if about to put it on. Next she saw the Scarlet Court in the Imperial City. 
Lastly she saw a man, with sea-green hair and blue eyes. He was wearing a red longcoat with gold lining and deep blue martial arts clothes underneath, yet had on pirate boots. Little did she know that she was looking upon Sanalos Peleps.
 Her sight returned to normal, the vision burned into her mind.

 Cats Eye looked back into the Loom with new found hope, her eyes sparkling with blue stars. She silently thanked the loom and headed off to find the mask she saw, her faith in Creation, restored


    part two.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Saint of the Stars: The Mask

    Cats Eye thought as she walked through Yu-Shan.
    If the visions she received was correct, she was to get a mask, put it on and go to the Imperial Court to......meet that man? The vision was unclear on that last part, but she knew it had something to do with him. Neither did she know why the mask was needed for this. It was just the vision the Loom had shown her, the vision she had to follow. All would become clear in time, no matter how unclear it was now. She was a Sidereal after all, it was her purpose to take care of the Loom.
    Cats Eye turned and walked down a side-hall labeled "Clothes", going past various rooms labeled "Shirts" "Monk Robes" "Shoes" "Pants"- she could hear the bellow the Pants God going "PANTS FOR THE PANTS GOD! TROUSERS FOR THE TROUSER OFFICE!"
    soon she finally got to the room labeled "Masks". She opened the door.

    Inside was an ordinary office with a number of great filing cabinets behind the desk. Seated at the desk, was the God of Masks, Myzzic. Myzzic quite obviously, wore a colorful mask and all other details were useless because he the God of Masks, why bother describing him as anything other than what he was in Essence: a mask over a face?
    The God of Masks was doing paperwork, obviously on Masks. He had a rubber stamp. He took a paper from one pile, quickly saw what kind of paper it was, and what mask it was for, stamped it with the seal of the Mask God then put it into the other pile. He did this repeatedly while a minor god of filing took papers from the bottom of the pile, zipped around until it found the papers proper place then put it there, then zipped back to the approved pile to repeat the cycle.
    Neither Myzzic nor his minor god of filing serving him seemed to look up from their work or even notice Cats Eye. They just kept on doing what they doing forever and ever. It seemed this eternity was what they did all day, and were near robotic and efficient in how they did it, one could almost think of them as machines, just two other cogs and gears forever turning in Heaven like perfect clockwork.
    Cats Eye however, felt sorry for them. Or at least, for Myzzic. The minor god of filing was probably happy as a puppy just running back forth between pile and filing cabinet forever and was probably just as intelligent. Myzzic however was a God of Masks, not paperwork. He probably wanted to go around with a big bag of masks and give everyone a mask, go up to children, sit them on his knees and ask them "why hello son, what kind of mask would you like for Mask Day?" and they'd answer "one of my favorite hero!" and he would laugh jollily and give them a mask of their favorite hero, because he was the God of Masks. Instead he was here, stamping forever and ever. Poor Mask God.

    After a few minutes of waiting to be noticed and coughing a few times in the Ahem fashion, Cats Eye finally said.
    "Hello?"
    The God of Masks answered
    "Hi."
    He didn't ever stop what he was doing, or look up at her. He just kept on sorting and stamping. He after all had work to do. If Cats Eye had not heard the "Hi." she wouldn't have even known the God of Masks had responded, his movements so economical and efficient that he had only moved his mouth and nothing else to speak to her. A few more moments passed.
    "Uh....I'm here for something."
    Myzzic spoke again, still not moving anything other than his mouth.
    "Is this about those TPS reports? I already put the new cover sheets on those, got the memo you see."
    "No! Agh, I'm a Chosen of Serenity, this is important!"
    "Really? What is it then?"
    The God of Masks asked as if it was the most normal thing in the world.
    "I need a mask."
    She described the mask to Myzzic.
    The God of Masks finally stopped what he was doing.
    and looked up.
    "You mean you need THAT kind of mask? The kind of mask you are describing, is one from the First Age, which allows one to disguise themselves as anyone as long they wear the mask. Those things are very valuable, and not common."
    Well at least now she knew one reason why she needed The Mask, she was apparently to disguise herself with it.
    "Great, do you have one? Since you are the God of Masks and all that?"
    "Er....I had a Mask....."
    "What happened?"
    "Yea, after work I like to y'know, play poker with some of my god friends, blow off some steam, make a few bets have fun y'know? Well in this game I sorta.....bet my magical disguise Mask against the God of Dueling's sword, I lost and now the Dueling God Bercalo has it. You will have to take it up with him."
    A Chosen of Serenity going up against the God of Dueling. Great.

    Cats Eye sighed as she walked over to the Conflicts Department. This was just how things worked in Yu-Shan. Whatever gods that weren't addicted to the Games of Divinity, were spending their whole day doing nothing but a flood of paperwork and then blowing off steam in the evening in reckless ways which leads to petty unimportant problems like a Sidereal having to go to the God of Dueling to get an artifact that she needs to save Creation because the God of Masks lost a poker game against said God of Dueling.
    Cats Eye often wondered what the point was of the Games of Divinity. Seriously, why did the Primordials even make this thing? It just seemed to cause no end of trouble. First it was the reason there was a Creation in the first place which makes the Fae angry, then the gods overthrew the Primordials to play them which led to the Exalted, which led to the Usurpation, which led to the current mess they had now. Even today the Games of Divinity caused a shortage of gods actually working in Yu-Shan, thus causing the remaining gods to be overworked, thus causing them to blow off steam in their breaks in ways that only caused problems for everyone. If the Games didn't exist, Heaven would be running a lot smoother, heck if the Games didn't exist, perhaps there wouldn't be any Exalted. Still, the Games of Divinity seemed pointless as it only impeded the protection and taking care of Creation- if the gods, the Celestial Incarnae could tear themselves from those addictive Games, the situation would be a whole lot more solvable.

    Until then, she would just have to make do.

    She had gone up to the Conflicts Receptionist, a god of receptions.
    The god of receptions looked up and asked
    "Oh! A Sidereal. Weird, your not a Chosen of Battles, what brings you here?"
    "I need to speak to Bercalo, God of Dueling."
    "Oh, him. Left hall of the Left hall, last door on the right."
    "Thank you."
    She followed the directions, passing by conflicts such as “Star-Crossed Lovers” “Father is Son’s Enemy” and “Insignificant Jewelry that Dooms World.” and opened the door labeled "Dueling"
    Inside was what looked like a spanish swashbuckler with a rapier use his sword to stamp, sort and file all the papers in a blur, it was this crazy display of swordplay that somehow filed all the peoples he had to do and perfectly.
    The swashbuckler finished, then turned to Cats Eye.
    "Weird, you are not a Chosen of Battles. But you ARE a Senorita of Serenity! What brings you here to my humble office?"
    "I'm looking for something, a mask."
    "A mask? You mean the one the I won off Senor Mask God?'
    The God of Dueling thought to himself Heh, estupido Myzzic didn't even see me cheat.
    "Yes that one. Tell me where it is."
    "Ah unfortunately senorita, I'm a God of Dueling and I haven't dueled in a week. Too long a time to go without dueling, for a Dueling God."
    "You are refusing to give me the info unless we duel?"
    "Exactly, Senorita. To the roof, there are many places for dueling there."

    The roof of the Department of Conflicts, was interesting to say the least.
    To say that it was a specially designed arena was an understatement. To say that it was a specially designed battlefield was to hit right on the mark. One could fight with entire armies up here. Many people had, in the First Age many Solars fought with armies of demons and elementals against each other for fun. It was used to hone many Dawn general’s tactics and strategy. Today, there were still some Chosen of Battles who came up here and waged…..well, battles against each other to keep their tactical skill sharp.
    You could say that it was in fact a sparring area for armies, or at least their commanders.
    The roof contained all the terrain you could think of and was set up like Creation in miniature. The Roof of the Department of Conflicts was 100 square miles in area at the least.
    Cats Eye and Bercalo, the God of Dueling were in the northern section of the roof, a mile away from the edge. They were on a summit with various shields and weapons strewn about from previous battles.
    Bercalo drew his saber.
    Cats Eye got out her powerbow.
    Bercalo fell into a fighting stance and Cats Eye knock an arrow.
    They waited for each other to make a move.
    Then Cats Eye let the arrow loose, zooming through the air.
    Bercalo ducked under it while he charged, he parried the next arrow then the one after that then slashed at Cats Eye herself- only to be parried by the bow.
    Looking quizzically he tried a few more slashes to be blocked or parried by the bow, Cats Eye was good at making a ranged weapon into a melee shield.
    She then jumped over Bercalo, firing off two arrows as she arced over him, both hitting their mark.
    She flipped and landed on the ground just in time to see Bercalo grab a shield then use it as a snowboard to go sliding down the summit.
    Cats Eye followed suit and went after him.

    As they slid down the mountain on their impromptu snowboards, Cats Eye fired off arrows at Bercalo. He always kept moving, dodging and parrying despite all her efforts.
    She put away her bow then moved her snowboard-shield closer, she began to fight hand-to-sword against Bercalo.
    She dodged and weaved while she attacked Bercalo, a blade being no match for Exalted speed and reflexes. The hits on Bercalo started to accumulate and he started to slow down. Finally she knocked the sword out of his hands, step onto his snowboard- shield then slammed him down on it just as the snow-board shield skidded to a halt at the edge of the roof, friction finally taking over.
    “I have beaten you.”
    “Si, Senorita….”
    “Tell me where the mask is. Now.”
    “I er….don’t have it anymore…..I challenged a guy named Smashing Maraca on a bet, that if I won the duel he would give me his Orichalcum Maraca’s he uses as weapons. I lost, he has the mask now.”
    “YOU MEAN THAT WE FOUGHT THIS WHOLE DUEL, JUST SO THAT YOU WOULD TELL ME THAT YOU DON’T HAVE IT ANYMORE!?“
    “Si, I’m a God of Dueling, I like to duel. I’m a jerk like that.”
    Wait…did you say Orichalcum maracas?”
    “Si. He was a Solar. Dawn Caste.”


    part three
    Spoiler
    Show
    Saint of the Stars: DANG SIDEREALS!

    Smashing Maraca practiced.
    What he was practicing, was martial arts. He was going through a certain form, over and over again. Life Circle Fish Form it was, mainly used for counter-attacks.
    He started on Fish Flows Down the Stream, shifting into Fish Descends the Waterfall then into Calm Salt Sea. Then he shifted into Fish Ascends the Waterfall, and then finally goes into Fish Fights up the Stream. He kept repeating it. He was on a rooftop, in Chiaroscuro, his orichalcum maracas set down off to the side. His brother, Fiddle of Six Lucky Strings, was off being sociallike and moneylike. Maraca didn’t really care for that, he just found peace in this constant controlled movement of martial arts.
    Maraca like his brother was dark-skinned, yellow-eyed and wore a white shirt. He had red hair like his brother, but he was bald and a great big mustache instead. Maraca wore a loose blue vest and red pants with cowboy boots. On his head he wore a white cowboy hat. All was going fine.
    Until a woman appeared. She was blonde in all blue clothes from her sparkling pants and shirt to her normal looking scarf and bandana. She carried some sort of bow.
    “Hello Smashing Maraca.” She said
    “Who are you, and what do you want?” he replied
    “I am Cats Eye Lantern’s Shining Brilliance. You may call me Cats Eye. I’m a Chosen of Serenity and I want the Mask you have.”
    “Darn Sidereals.” Maraca muttered under his breath.
    “I’m not gonna give it you, ya dang Sidereal.”
    “Please….give it to me. I need it. It is for saving Creation. I’d rather not use violence.”
    “Yea, saving Creation like you guys did during the Usurpation? Right, I’m gonna go ahead and keep my Mask now.”
    “I know there were mistakes made, but please, can’t you forgive and forget?”
    Maraca willed his orichalcum maracas to his hands.
    “Not with memories of the First Age.”
    Cats Eye sighed and lifted her bow.
    “Very well.” She loosed an arrow. Smashing Maraca dodged and ran forward, a maraca in each hand attacking Cats Eye.
    She began to dodge and block back, getting in an attack where she could. Cats Eye knew what she was doing right now to put it lightly, was insane. She was a Joybringer trying to fight a Dawn for crying out loud, she could be fighting a Night or Eclipse right now which would at least be fair, but no she had to pick a fight with one of the best warriors in the entire world. If she had been a Chosen of Battles or Endings, she would’ve had a good shot at this.
    Now that the thought occurred to her, she realized she might not be the best Sidereal ever, she did believe in the path of a Chosen of Serenity, but she seemed to get into fights too often to be called one. The Loom of Fate could not have made a mistake couldn’t it? Mixed up a Battle and Serenity Exaltation or something like that?
    Oh and she just realized that attacking a Solar like this might bring up an Audit or something. Well, she never really cared for Sidereal politics and Bureau directives anyways. What mattered to her was making people happy, and the best way to make people happy was to save Creation.
    She finally got a good kick in and sent Smashing Maraca crashing into the next building, she ran across the roof-top then jumped, pressing the attack. However in midair there came a yell
    “SKYBREAKER, HOOOOOOO!!!”
    Cats Eye looked to the side just in time to see and dodge a ridiculously big Starmetal grand daiklave chop down in a vertical arc, wielded by this guy in rags and ridiculously spiky red, wild hair with a rag tied like a bandana around his head. She saw his eyes and immediately thought
    What is a Chosen of Journeys doing here?
    For he had the iconic golden eyes with stars inside.
    They both jumped over to another roof.
    “and Who are you?” Cats Eye asked.
    “I,” the man in rags announced while a big wolf with glowing eyes jumped up next to him
    “am Kelgan Giantsblade, The Wolf in the South, Wanderer of Creation.”
    He declared with a flourish. Cats Eye rolled her eyes at the obvious “Bull in the North” style rip-off title.
    “these are my companions, the blade I call Skybreaker, and my wolf companion, Three Fangs Strong. The three of us together make me AWESOME!”
    Bewildered, Cats Eye asked.
    “Let me guess….the Bureau of Destiny sent you here for an Audit or something.”
    “Huh? Aw-dit? Whaddaryu talking about? Wha’s this Byur-row?”
    “….Your a Chosen of Journeys right? A Sidereal? Don’t you know about this stuff?”
    “…Lady, I have NO idea watchu talking about, I just know that I’m suddenly awesome all the time and that for some reason people keep forgetting my name. I go into an inn, pay for a room, next morning they forgot m’name! Forgot I was even there! I go up to a tribe, be all friendly like offer to catch ‘em some food and they are all friendly like, I go hunting, hours later I come back and they forgot m’name! I seduce a pretty girl, we have a great date, and a great night in bed, wake up in the morning, still in her bed and she forgot m’name! People keep forgetting m’name and keep chasing me away ‘cause they claim they don’t know me or something when I clearly introduced myself clearly and all that! What the Malfeas?”
    Three Fangs Strong growled something at Kelgan
    “WHAT!? Don’t tell you forgot to, mate! You’re the only friend I have who remembers!”
    A growl and a bark from Three Fangs Strong.
    “Oh Whew, you just kidding. Don’t do that man, you scared me.”
    Cats Eye first thought was:
    Weirdest. Sidereal. Ever.
    Her second thought was:
    That’s the trouble with Arcane Fate. He must be some Ronin we somehow missed. I doubt I could bring him to Yu-Shan though, the fact that he doesn’t even know what a Sidereal is or what his powers are means he has never even been approached and the fact that he attacked me probably doesn’t mean he will come willingly any time soon. I have no time for forcefully bringing in a rogue Sidereal. I have a Mask to get.
    Wait a minute. A thought struck her.
    “Why did you attack me?”
    “Oh, cause you were attacking him to steal something. That’s bad. I’m kicking your ass like the criminal you are.”
    Silence fell as Cats Eye tried to work this out: A Sidereal Ronin who was completely ignorant over what he was, who apparently gone around using his divine powers of the Maidens to seduce women, wielding a starmetal grand daiklave- who knows what god was murdered to make it- with a wolf companion, attacked her with no subtlety or tactics at all, because she tried to steal something?
    “DANG SIDEREALS!”
    Her thoughts were interrupted by that shout.
    Smashing Maraca landed on the room between them, he was glowing gold and angry.
    “You called for backup didn’t you?” Smashing Maraca accused Cats Eye
    “No! I came to help you!” Kelgan protested.
    “Shaddup, lying Sidereal.”
    With that Smashing Maraca charged toward Kelgan
    “Don’t matter how many you send at me! I’m Smashing Maraca, Dawn Caste! I’ll fight all of you and win!”
    Maraca’s maraca and Kelgan’s blade met as the two-handed weapon wielder and the two-weapon wielder met, Maraca again had the advantage, the big weapon being unwieldy to block with and heavy to dodge with. Kelgan accumulated bruises from the maracas and only managed to score one slash on Maraca.
    The game changed when Cats Eye came in and launched a martial arts assault of punches and kicks. Maraca didn’t exactly fall- he just turned so that he was fighting both Sidereals at the same time. Maraca was dodging, attacking and blocking both of them, he was truly an artisan of combat.
    Then Three Fangs Strong saw an opening and charged to attack Maraca.
    KICK!
    “YIP!”
    Three Fangs Strong sprawled on the ground from Maraca’s punt, whining in pain.
    Kelgan was stunned.
    “How DARE-“
    WHACK!
    Maraca whacked Kelgan with his maraca off to the side.
    Kelgan got up his eyes enraged
    “I said…”
    Kelgan shouted
    “HOW DARE YOU HARM THREE FANGS STRONG!”
    Kelgan charged roaring in rage and attacking Maraca recklessly.
    Kelgan’s blade became a flurry of steel, driving Maraca back, step by step, Maraca was actually sweating and paying full attention to Kelgan. Rage apparently increased ones skill and ability something to insane heights. It was simply crazy, Maraca strained to keep up and Kelgan scored more than one blow on Maraca.
    Then Maraca contemptuously disarmed Kelgan, then hit him in the stomach, the shoulder the face, then finally punted him back to Three Fangs Strong, laying him flat on his back.
    Maraca had enough of this sidereal trash, he walked over to Kelgan and raised his Maraca to end Kelgan’s life
    A feminine “yoohoo!” interrupted him.
    Both Kelgan and Maraca looked to see Cats Eye at the edge of the building, holding the ivory white Mask. She winked. They suddenly realized: she had used Kelgan as a distraction so that she could steal the Mask without being seen. Kelgan had helped Cats Eye accomplish what he had been trying to prevent.

    She then jumped off the building.

    Smashing Maraca ran forward in full fury, clutching both Maraca’s shouting
    “NO! THAT’S MY MASK! YOU DANG SIDEREAL I’M GONNA-“
    He the suddenly stopped mid-charge.
    Kelgan got up, picking his grand daiklave and get Three Fangs Strong back up on his feet, wondering what just happened. It looked as if Maraca was trying to figure out why what he was doing.
    Maraca suddenly turned around.
    “Why was I going in this direction?”
    “Huh?”
    “Wait…where is my Mask? Its not in my pocket anymore!”
    “Didn’t you just see her take it-“
    Kelgan was interrupted
    “Darn lying Sidereal! You took it didn’t you! I’m gonna kill you, ya dang Sidereal!”
    Kelgan found himself running away from town, chased by someone angry.
    Again.

    As Cats Eye walked to the Yu-Shan Gate to the Imperial City, carrying the Mask she smiled.
    Time to fulfill her destiny.


    part four
    Spoiler
    Show
    Saint of the Stars: Saima Ragara

    Cats Eye Lantern’s Shining Brilliance walked up to the Imperial Court. A party, one so often thrown in the Imperial City of late was starting. Any loyal subject of the Scarlet Empire would say that it was a testament to the Dynasts strength and endurance to continue the parties and celebrations, to maintain a happy and strong atmosphere in these dark days of the Empress’s absence, and keep the people’s morale high.
    In truth, those who threw these parties were one of many things. Some threw them because they were denial of the obvious: the Empire was finally falling, the rule of the Dragon-Blooded finally ending. Some did it strategically, as strikes and battles in a game of intrigue and subterfuge that would lead to said fall. Finally other partied to celebrate the fall of the Empire….and the rise of whatever chaos comes next. Anyone with eyes saw that Regent Fokuf will not last the year and neither would the society around him.
    Cats Eye looked upon the Imperial Court knowing that in there, somewhere was the man she saw in her vision.

    The man that she believed would save Creation.

    She had to believe that she was here to find that man; she had to believe that the Loom had sent her to help save Creation. It was this faith that sustained her against the entire world on the brink of destruction. She put on her Mask and her resplendent destiny, and went inside the Court.

    Sanalos finished writing a letter to Salt Lily and handed it to his messenger who did a quick bow and left. Salt Lily was the new Co-Boss of Home Fleet. After he had killed Old Fin, someone had to take the position. Thing is Salt Lily had been more the result of internal politics rather than his usual search for competence and experience. Coral Flower in a stunning turn of events made a campaign to have the new Co-boss be female to better break the patriarchal society of the West. Kiggas and Rib Shark had launched counter-arguments that the company needed someone who can get the job done and Sanalos had agreed with them. However Coral Flower had launched a response that she would chop off Sanalos’s manhood if he didn’t choose someone female for the position, Exaltation or no and he frankly believed her.
    So to alleviate tensions among the Co-Bosses he chose Salt Lily, a mildly successful captain but was unusually young and relatively inexperienced. She had light blue hair with pigtails bronze skin and brown eyes, often wearing colorful dresses. Salt Lily had always been a cheery, cute girl. Even when she was busy torturing a pirate for information with a fork she was happy and upbeat. She was also a martial artist and wielded cats claws. While Coral Flower had indeed what she wanted- a second female Co-boss, she had been struck dumb by the fact she was a cute, young upbeat girl that was basically completely the opposite of Coral Flower in every way. As a result Salt Lily angered and annoyed Coral Flower just as often she was made glad because of her.
    Kiggas and Rib Shark had been too hypnotized by Salt Lily’s cuteness to really complain about her. The fact she had also proved that she could handle herself on a ship helped but there were better people out there. However Sanalos was not worried, Salt Lily being Co-boss of Home Fleet meant she was in a familiar environment she knew how to deal with and would not go offend people in other lands.
    Coral Flower made a wish and got what she hated while it came true and Kiggas and Rib Shark started to like what they did not want in the first place. Exactly as planned.

    He walked to the Court. He was dressed in formal court attire, particularly a gaudy scarlet long coat with jade lining. He entered the party, where people were laughing and drinking the most expensive and rich wines in Creation while the greatest schemers in the Realm conversed with their pawns.
    He stayed on the outer edges of it. Well-bred Dragon-Blooded were so obvious that they were always in the center of the parties, for most of the outcastes and found eggs didn’t have blood thick enough with the dragons to fool anyone that they belonged in the center of the party. The center of the party was for Dynasts, True Dynasts, and the real Dragon-Blooded of the Realm- all the Outcastes and Found Eggs only deserved the outer party. They were after all outcastes and found eggs, they didn’t really deserve to be in the center of the Empire, so neither did they really deserve in the center of the parties either.
    The party itself was therefore like Creation in miniature: the Dynasts scheming among themselves while all the outcasts around the edges conversed in their own cliques and groups, most not surprisingly congregating around Exalts of similar Aspects or Exalts from the same elemental pole. Sanalos was rather an exception. He preferred to seek out Exalted from different directions and different Aspects. He found their different view points refreshing.
    He traveled in a circuitous route around the Dynastic center and through his Found Egg counterparts to come over to a familiar figure.
    “Hey Wiletro” he greeted
    “How is it going?”
    Wiletro an Air Aspect with fiery orange hair enough to make him look like a Fire Aspect, he had green eyes and dressed in loose fitting light blue robe-like clothes with dark blue lining with sandals. Wiletro had been Sanalos’s talking companion for all the time they had been at Court. Even other found egg Dragon-Blooded didn’t care much for either of them. Wiletro wasn’t exactly the guy cut out for politics and Sanalos wasn’t really a guy one really feels like they can trust- despite all his efforts to cultivate a charming and charismatic personality.
    ‘Y’know, the usual.” Wiletro shrugged.
    “M’brother is out on the Wyld Hunt, m’sister is still nose-deep in books…not much to say, other than that I still have to freaking attend these parties can no else in my family can.”
    Ah Yes, Sanalos remembered. Wiletro was a found egg, his brother Jatone an Earth Aspect had been found by the Scarlet Empress and had been offered the Razor of the Coin, and had picked the Immaculate Order- on the condition that his brother and sister, Wiletro and Skyrial, were to be protected, educated and brought up in the Scarlet Dynasty, the Scarlet Empress of course accepted because they too might Exalt into Dragon-Blooded. Since Skyrial was too young and Jatone out hunting Anathema, Wiletro was stuck being dealing with politics. While the guy was smart and good at fighting- Sanalos had seen him use both sorcery and martial arts and he did not want to be on the receiving end of such skill- he just didn’t have a good head for political or even social stuff, it just wasn’t his forte. However, the guy kept it up all the same, he was a protective brother to the end.
    In a way, Sanalos admired him. He was brave enough to face something out of his element every single day.
    “Well Wiletro, I’m honestly feeling depressed.”
    Wiletro quirked an eyebrow at that.
    “We’ve talked about it before haven’t we? The Empire is freaking dying. You know as much as I do, as much as everyone in this room does, it won’t last the year. Regent Fokuf would be a puppet ruler if he didn’t sign every paper put under his nose, the Two Ring Circus is just a bunch of arguing idiots and the Great Houses are all out for themselves. Yet I do not know what to do. It is the Empire that has stood for centuries, the Empire that protects us from the threats around us and it is collapsing before our eyes. I want to do something….but I am but one Exalted. I feel helpless, despite all the new power I have. I wonder, what do you think of this? What do you think I should do?”
    Wiletro leaned back against a column, breathed in and out then looked at Sanalos
    “Find a reason to do something. I have my sister, it is why I’d do anything, face any foe to make sure she is fine. Ask yourself what you have and commit yourself to protect it.”
    “Very…very well.”
    Sanalos searched himself. To his dismay he couldn’t find anything worth that much protection and devotion, surely maybe his fellow smugglers, the Swift Sea Smugglers, were worth protecting? Yes, but they were more something he commanded, his relationship was too impersonal and abstract. He felt the need to protect them, it just wasn’t a personal intimate one. He had a relationship of the mind, not one of the heart, which was what he dearly needed.

    Cats Eye, disguised as Saima Ragara strode through the party. Her disguise Saima was a Wood Aspect Dynast, with an intricate dress and flowers in green hair, Saima was well bred, well-raised and well-mannered. While Saima Ragara conversed, chattered and handled the world around her with poise and control, Cats Eye frantically searched for the man she though would save Creation. She would find him, right?
    Right?
    All these colorful Dynasts and nobles around her confused her. She hadn’t been in the Imperial Court before and keeping track of it can be confusing when everyone kept wandering around. There were hundreds of Dragon-Blooded in this room alone, if an Anathema were to reveal themselves right in the middle of the room, they wouldn’t make it to the door alive. Of course there were various servants and guards around as well, only cluttering things further.
    She decided to go to the center of the room, where the Dynasts were, she was disguised as a dynast with good blood after all and the center would be a good place to spot the man that showed up in the Vision.
    The center was a complicated mix of dancing and talking that only Exalted had the will and the ability to keep up without messing up. She commented, talked, wheeled around, danced, spun, turned and conversed all at the same time, allowing her to see the entire room while keeping up the social façade.
    Eventually they saw each other.

    Sanalos looking despondent, wondered what he could find that he could care for. He decided to silently ask Creation what it should be.
    It answered by showing him Saima Ragara, with flowing green hair with flowers and an intricate dress, dancing the center. She was the most beautiful thing in the world to him, a maddening desire crept in, to keep the flower that was Saima safe from the ravages of the world, to protect her, knowing that the chaos that would ensue upon the world and destroy everything. He wanted to stand against that, and keep the flower safe and untouched. Such a person did not deserve to be destroyed, did not deserve this dark time she lived in.
    Sanalos could not deny it. He was in love with Saima Ragara.
    Then she caught his sight for a moment- but only for a moment, a flashing moment before returning to her dance in the center.
    But
    A dark, cynical voice from the back of his head, that had often been his companion for so long spoke.
    She just is like the rest, yes? She is also a Dynast- she is in the center after all. She is probably just another schemer, another noble scrabbling for power. Why waste your protection on her?
    No, he fought back, he couldn’t believe it. But he did.
    You have fallen in love with a vixen who will play you like a harp, then discard you like a throwing knife grown too dull. She is not worth it. She probably doesn’t even know you exist, she may have looked at you, but she didn’t see you. She is a Dynast after all.
    Torn asunder by his own outlook on life, he promptly left the Court.

    Saima Ragara, aka Cats Eye did in fact see Sanalos. However she saw that he was in the outer party, while she was in the inner one. Dynasts did not associate with found eggs and outcastes, especially at parties where everyone would see them. If she broke the dance now, it would not only be socially inappropriate, but out of character for Saima Ragara which would wreak havoc with her resplendent destiny. Instead she turned her head as if she didn’t see anything and kept on dancing and talking, knowing it was better to approach him after the party or when it was dying down to speak with him.
    However she soon saw him leaving, looking a little upset.
    No! This would not do.
    However she had been distracted and almost bumped into one of the Dynasts in the dance. Her Mask saved her as when she saw the Dynast, her hand flew to her face in concern that it might fall off and caused a chain reaction that allowed her to get back into the dance.

    In another reality, Cats Eye had indeed bumped into the Dynast because she didn’t have the Mask to be concerned about because she had decided to go the Court without it because she had resplendent destinies, thus causing both to fall onto the floor and said resplendent destiny to be completely wrecked, revealing her true form while Sanalos was still in the room, everyone declaring her Anathema and getting killed by a super-combined Elemental Bolt Attack. In this other reality Sanalos had either became an Anathema hating fanatic who gone off to join the Immaculate order because an Anathema had toyed with his heart, or had committed suicide for his love dying horribly in front of him, we don’t really know.

    But it was not that reality. In this reality Saima had found a polite way out of the dance and out of the Court. She followed Sanalos, determined not to let him get away. However he seemed to have vanished, he was apparently good at keeping people off his tail.
    After searching around outside for a while, she collapsed from exhaustion, where could he be?
    She perked up when she heard a voice speak.

    Sanalos stood outside the Court, looking up into the starry night sky. He was thinking, not a contemplative kind of thought but a conflictive kind of thought; a battle was raging in his head over what to do about Saima Ragara. He loved her, yet he never met her, she was a dynast and probably would never reciprocate his newfound affection. Worse the cynical voice in his head was launching even more arrows to strike him in the heart.
    Are you sure you even love her? It might just be a crush, or a fleeting feeling of lust. You have never been in love before, how should you know? Even if you do love her, is it just because she looks pretty? She might not be the right person, just the right looks and body.
    Besides, it is love at first sight, foolish young love. It is not real, or faithful, you would fall head over heels in love with any girl on the street probably, you being too busy to have an actual life or anything…

    As that cynical part of him spoke, he felt the world become more and more bleak, he felt all the light and hope drain away replaced by harsh reality and logic and emotions drowned by a bitter darkness grown from his days in the West when he was just a beggar on the street trying to survive, the beggar boy who left other beggar boys to die after he had used them to steal food, the beggar boy who cowardly fled a life of strength and tough living on the streets to be a smuggler on a ship and to start caring for his crewmates, then his crew, then the fleet he Co-Boss’d and then finally got into the cushy position of Boss of the company, then became an Exalted, blackmailed House Peleps into adopting him so he could live in the lap of luxury and have the time of his life while every beggar and pirate life out the hard life in the West, scraping by what they can.

    I mean, oh a crime boss who has manipulated and schemed his way into living like a king who doesn’t truly deserve anything he has, how heroic and selfless. Truly you are a paragon of morals and virtue! Face it, you are no better than the scheming bastards bastards inside, you just don’t have the blood.

    Then something snapped within Sanalos, and he mentally punched his cynical voice into next week.
    He flared his anima banner.
    “You know what? Frack all that, I know, I’m no hero, I plan, I scheme, I’m a selfish bastard who likes luxury and all its trappings, it is what I do. It is what I am.”
    He paused then spoke louder
    “I know, I may not know what love is, or if Saima Ragara is a schemer or not, but what I do know is that I care for her. I know that if she dies something bright and pure will die and the world will become a little dimmer. I don’t want that. I want to protect her. Better: I have plan. I can protect her, by protecting the entire world, fighting off all the threats and making a better world where she doesn’t have to be a schemer, if she ever was one.”
    He then announced for all to hear:
    “From this day forth, I vow upon Saima Ragara that I will protect Creation, and eventually forge a new world so she will be protected for the rest of her life! This, I swear!”


    Cats Eye saw Sanalos make his speech. She realized: she didn’t need to speak to him, he just need to see her, to be inspired by Saima Ragara to be set on the path.
    Her plan to save Creation was in motion, question is: what was it?

    Sanalos thought to himself:
    The best way to protect Creation is to save the Scarlet Empire, and to save the empire, there needs to be an Empress or Emperor. I must find someone to be that ruler.
    Sanalos clenched his hands into fists.
    Even if I have to become said ruler myself.

  13. - Top - End - #253
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Crit Untitled Rondel by Kallisti

    Quote Originally Posted by Kallisti View Post
    I just checked the roster and apparently I had eight critiques and two stories. With the critique I posted of The Vision, that makes three unspent critiques, so I figure I'll post the other graduation-day poem (since it's urgent and all). This one shouldn't be considered as one of the free slots, since I already took one and I have three critiques.

    Untitled Rondel
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    My time with you has been a gift
    Smiles shared, hours well-misspent;
    And so, to celebrate, may I present
    The sullied page I pass off as my gift.

    Would that our days I could shift
    From Yesterday were they were sent!
    My time with you has been a gift
    Smiles shared, hours well-misspent.

    Though parted by an ocean’s yawning rift
    Let these words remember me as they are meant:
    Not a single misused moment I repent—
    My time with you has been a gift.

    Here I go
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    It may well be that I'm not in the right state of mind to critique today, but one thing that hit me is the word gift being used twice in the first stanza. I tried and tried to think of another word that will fit the rhyme and meaning, and though I'm at a lose to give one, it may be something to look at a little longer.

    I must applaud you because when I write something where I need to repeat specific lines at certain times I make the poem sound too sing-song...this is heart-felt without being cutsey and babyish.

    Lastly I'll beg you to not change the line "Smiles shared, hours well-misspent" This is just so good...I know exactly what you mean, yet at the same time I want to point out that you can't misspend your time in a good way...it's an oxymoron that you make sound so beautiful!
    This is a great piece, much better than the similar plan I'd had in school.
    Keep the heat alive

  14. - Top - End - #254
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    Default Re: Crit Untitled Rondel by Kallisti

    Quote Originally Posted by changingvamp View Post
    Here I go
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    It may well be that I'm not in the right state of mind to critique today, but one thing that hit me is the word gift being used twice in the first stanza. I tried and tried to think of another word that will fit the rhyme and meaning, and though I'm at a lose to give one, it may be something to look at a little longer.

    I must applaud you because when I write something where I need to repeat specific lines at certain times I make the poem sound too sing-song...this is heart-felt without being cutsey and babyish.

    Lastly I'll beg you to not change the line "Smiles shared, hours well-misspent" This is just so good...I know exactly what you mean, yet at the same time I want to point out that you can't misspend your time in a good way...it's an oxymoron that you make sound so beautiful!
    This is a great piece, much better than the similar plan I'd had in school.
    Thank you for your kind words.

    Well, I presented this at graduation some weeks ago, so it's a little late now, but you're right about the repeated 'gift'. For some reason I got it in my head it had to end with the same word as the first line, which is not true, so...well spotted.

    I liked the line 'smiles shared, hours well-misspent' because I knew my friend Hannah--for whom the poem was written--would catch the reference to Neil Gaiman. I would rather recollect a life misspent on fragile things and all.
    "Once upon a time, a story was never finished..."

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    Default Re: Crit Untitled Rondel by Kallisti

    Quote Originally Posted by Kallisti View Post
    I liked the line 'smiles shared, hours well-misspent' because I knew my friend Hannah--for whom the poem was written--would catch the reference to Neil Gaiman. I would rather recollect a life misspent on fragile things and all.
    One of my fav authors...I however missed the reference and as a result I like the line even more...simply beautiful...
    Keep the heat alive

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

    I don't know anything about the preexisting mythology so I'm not qualified to comment on Sidereals, but I will gladly critique your story.

    Critique of Saint of the Stars by Lord Raizere

    Pt. 1:
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    An effective opening, mainly on the strength of the third paragraph. That is the real heart of Part 1 and well written, I think. The vision works nicely as foreshadowing.

    That first paragraph though. It's a deliberate non-sequitur that only contributes to the plot by establishing that Solars are inferior to Sidereals. I'm fine with non-sequiturs that end in a joke but not in this case because:
    a) It's the very beginning of the story and you are going to throw almost every reader off to some degree
    b)There is a long run on sentence to start it
    c)coming back from the non-sequitur at the start of a new paragraph threw me off even more because I had to go back and find exactly where it matched up in the 1st paragraph. If the non-sequitur is too long to fit in the same paragraph with the subject, then it should be shortened.

    Technical grammar stuff
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    So this run on sentence is pretty big: "Cats Eye Lantern's Shining Brilliance-Cats Eye for short, Cats Eye's Ridiculously Long Name to her detractors and "Brilliance" to all those who wish to woo her, for they loved to compare the last word of her name to the pitiful light that were the Solars, for surely their glory couldn't stand against the brilliance of your beauty, such attempts at a pick up line only made Cats Eye roll her eyes, or if was particularly stupid, to perform the ancient martial arts move Male Stupidity Sends You Flying Again, a powerful punch performable only by females and only when it would be funny because the Pattern Spiders would deem it so, it sent the offending male flying into the sky for their stupidity."

    It is carefully worded to be necessarily long, there is no place where I could just add a period without tweaking a word or two. More confusing than the non-sequitur is fact that there are too many thoughts in this opening sentence.

    As I said above, coming back from where you left off in the 1st paragraph at the start of a new one just feels clunky and disjointed to me. I'm not telling you you shouldn't do it if it helps the story somehow, but it gave me the impression that the character can be somewhat scatterbrained.

    The phrase, "it all that she wore was blue, even her eyes were blue with blue stars in her eyes" is too much blue too close together. Also the word, "it" at the beginning is a typo. The phrase would work better like, "all that she wore was blue, even the stars in her blue eyes" although wearing stars in your eyes might be too purple with the prose by today's standards.

    In the third paragraph, the phrase, "The Sidereals fighting themselves, would be just as bad as the entire Wyld invading Creation all at once." does not need a comma.

    Similarly, the last phrase in part 1, "her faith in Creation, restored" does not need a comma and of course is missing a period. I know it may seem trivial, but you do yourself no favors keeping your readers immersed in the story with missed punctuation.

    Fourth paragraph, "until they remembered there was ten-thousand and a few hundred something people like them." The word 'Was' should be 'were'


    Pt. 2:
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    There are some good humorous moments that are well handled in the overall narrative. I enjoyed the 'Pants for the Pants God!' bit. While the ordinary office setting kind of seemed like a cop-out to the fantastic nature of the Loom in general, the story still moves and doesn't get bogged down or stale because of it. The office setting just doesn't seem to live up to the Loom's potential for location and scenery.

    Likewise you handle the fight scene well, though when I think of beings that control the very nature of our existence, snowboard fighting did not occur to me.

    Technical grammar stuff
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    In the 1st paragraph, "If the visions she received was correct," should be 'were' not 'was'. If vision was singular, then it would be 'was' but visions make it 'were.'

    At the end of the 1st paragraph, "soon she finally" uses two things where you only need one. Either she soon got to the room or she finally did. Both together overcomplicates it.

    Jollily is not a word. I'm sorry.

    But seriously, the correct term there would be "he would laugh with jolity"

    The phrase, "Whatever gods that weren't addicted to the Games of Divinity, were spending their whole day doing nothing but a flood of paperwork and then blowing off steam in the evening in reckless ways" can have the word 'that' removed and have it's comma moved to the end, after "ways" (gosh, that's seems confusing, but I do think it flows better that way)

    "It was used to hone many Dawn general’s tactics" this one is a bit tricky. Because you made Dawn Generals plural with the word 'many,' it becomes a plural possessive and so the apostrophe should be after the s.


    Pt. 3:
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    The mix between action and advancement of the plot works well here. You set this fight scene on a higher level than the previous one by having it as the whole of a chapter.

    Smashing Maraca comes off as a justified antagonist with a mix of dark and brooding that is seemingly only conveyed to me by his mantra, "Dang Sidereals!" I think it's a good character despite his possible oversimplification in this story.

    One thing I noticed was Cats Eye's thought that she did not have a good shot in the fight because she was not a Chosen of Battles or Endings, yet she fails no take any hits and seems to do rather well in the fight.

    I think the exchange between Maraca and Cats Eye at the beginning of part three is not realistic dialogue. It's stilted and choppy to me. I also need to mention the breaking up of dialogue into separate lines later on (and also in part two). The main reason I don't like it is because you are left with phrases in between dialogue that are presented as their own paragraphs such as,:
    'Bewildered, Cats Eye asked.'
    'For he had the iconic golden eyes with stars inside.'
    and even dialogue in it's own paragraph such as:
    “am Kelgan Giantsblade, The Wolf in the South, Wanderer of Creation.” none of which are complete sentences, let alone paragraphs.

    Secondly, you shift back and forth between sections that follow correct syntax for dialogue and ones that split everything up into separate lines. The exchange between Maraca and Cats Eye at the beginning of part 3 for example is done correctly, but the next dialogue between her and Kelgan is split up. Uniformity in form is essential for narrative clarity.

    I also like Kelgan's character, despite his overuse of the contraction, m'name.

    Technical grammar stuff
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    The sentence, "What he was practicing, was martial arts." does not need the comma because the following two sentences follow the same pattern with commas separating short phrases. When read aloud, this paragraph works better without the 1st comma.

    "shifting into Fish Descends the Waterfall then into Calm Salt Sea. Then he shifted into Fish Ascends the Waterfall, and then finally goes into Fish Fights up the Stream." This part has three different tenses in it, which is bad. The word 'shifting' is present participle. then it changes to 'shifted' which is past participle and finally, the word 'goes' makes it 3rd person singular present. Getting the right tense all the time is difficult, I have a hard time too. I find it helps one get better if it's pointed out to you, that way you can better find the right tense for the situation you want and also match it with your own writing. In this case, since the paragraph starts in past tense, it should remain so, 'shifting' should be shifted, and 'goes' should be simply removed as it will not harm the intent of the phrase at all.

    "but he was bald and a great big mustache instead." this can be fixed either by changing the word, 'and' to 'with' or having the word 'had' added after 'and'

    "Now that the thought occurred to her, she realized she might not be the best Sidereal ever," this is a complete sentence and should have a period instead of a comma at the end.

    "The Loom of Fate could not have made a mistake couldn’t it?" The double negative is probably obvious with the sentence shown by itself, "couldn't" should be "could"

    “WHAT!? Don’t tell you forgot to, mate!" the 'to' should be 'too'

    "who apparently gone around" In this case you should use the word, 'goes'

    "Smashing Maraca landed on the room between them," I think you wanted to use the word 'roof' instead of 'room.' Can't be sure though.

    "Kelgan charged roaring in rage and attacking Maraca recklessly." there should be a comma after, 'charged'

    "It was simply crazy," there's probably some technical term for why this phrase is unnecessary here, but I will simply suggest that the paragraph is better without it.

    "Maraca had enough of this sidereal trash," it should be, 'Maraca had had enough of this Sidereal trash,'


    Pt. 4:
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    Ah twoo wuv! I like how you use love at first sight without ever using those four words together, it avoids the cliche effectively enough to be believable.

    While the story is clearly meant to continue, it's also self contained within these four parts by the prophecy narrative. Part 4 accomplishes both of these nicely. I think the line, "Her plan to save Creation was in motion, question is: what was it?" works very well on both counts.

    As with any aristocratic party it takes a lot of words to get through it, though a lot is devoted to developing Sanalos. Overall, I think your strength in narrative and defining characters balances out the technical flaws to create a good prologue that is readable and entertaining.

    Technicals
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    The phrase, "Some threw them because they were denial of the obvious" is missing an, 'in'

    "So to alleviate tensions among the Co-Bosses he chose Salt Lily, a mildly successful captain but was unusually young and relatively inexperienced." The 'but' should be 'who'

    "She had light blue hair with pigtails bronze skin and brown eyes," there should be a comma after pigtails

    "drinking the most expensive and rich wines in Creation" If you're going for rich as in, 'the wine tasted rich,' then I think this phrase would work better as, "drinking the richest and most expensive wines in Creation"

    "so neither did they really deserve in the center of the parties either." this can be fixed by removing the word, 'in' or by adding the words, 'to be' before it.

    "Wiletro an Air Aspect with fiery orange hair enough to make him look like a Fire Aspect, he had green eyes" this needs a comma after Wiletro and I think the 'he' should be removed.

    "Wiletro was stuck being dealing with politics." The word 'being' should be removed.

    "with flowing green hair with flowers" this is what they call the department of redundancy department.

    "She was the most beautiful thing in the world to him," this should have a period and the following word made the start of a new sentence.

    "to protect her, knowing that the chaos that would ensue upon the world and destroy everything." I'm not really sure that removing the first 'that' would accomplish what you want to say here, but it would work better than both that's.

    "However she soon saw him leaving, looking a little upset.
    No! This would not do.
    However she had been distracted" this is too many howevers, too close together.

    "Sanalos had either became" in this case, 'Sanalos either became,' or 'Sanalos had either become' are the two most correct options.

    "As that cynical part of him spoke, he felt the world become more and more bleak, he felt all the light and hope drain away replaced by harsh reality and logic and emotions drowned by a bitter darkness grown from his days in the West when he was just a beggar on the street trying to survive, the beggar boy who left other beggar boys to die after he had used them to steal food, the beggar boy who cowardly fled a life of strength and tough living on the streets to be a smuggler on a ship and to start caring for his crewmates, then his crew, then the fleet he Co-Boss’d and then finally got into the cushy position of Boss of the company, then became an Exalted, blackmailed House Peleps into adopting him so he could live in the lap of luxury and have the time of his life while every beggar and pirate life out the hard life in the West, scraping by what they can."

    No. Run on sentence is bad. this is how I would parse it. "As that cynical part of him spoke, he felt the world become more and more bleak. He felt all the light and hope drain away replaced by harsh reality and logic and emotions drowned by a bitter darkness grown from his days in the West when he was just a beggar on the street trying to survive. The beggar boy who left other beggar boys to die after he had used them to steal food, the beggar boy who cowardly fled a life of strength and tough living on the streets to be a smuggler on a ship and to start caring for his crewmates, then his crew, then the fleet he Co-Boss’d and then finally got into the cushy position of Boss of the company. Then became an Exalted, blackmailed House Peleps into adopting him so he could live in the lap of luxury and have the time of his life while every beggar and pirate life out the hard life in the West, scraping by what they can."

    The reason I was so thorough with this critique is that you seem to care about the ongoing story and mentioned that you worried it wasn't as good as Crashing Wave, so I have tried to give you as many specific examples as I can of room for improvement.

    As always I could easily be wrong somehow about a lot of the above and any decisions you make about the editing process will be better than mine because it is your story. Happy writing!
    Last edited by Asthix; 2011-07-24 at 09:21 PM.
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  17. - Top - End - #257
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Thanks, I should someday get around to fixing that grammar....that is always my weak point......

    my next idea for a story: The Real Saima Ragara.....and the consequences of the party....

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

    I've been trying to leave this thread to it's own devices, hoping it would flourish, but once again, it has fallen inactive. I really liked this thread when it was first made, but it keeps dying since, and this annoys me.

    *Sigh* The forum just isn't ready for the Writers Workshop.
    Soon it will be a forgotten thread, slumbering away for dark centuries until writers seek to awaken it's literary power.
    But when it returns, all will here it's call...
    The call of Writer's Workshophulu!

    Okay, seriously though, try and keep this thread going.

    Writer's Workshophulu commands it!

  19. - Top - End - #259
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Have you updated the roster lately, or did my first critique not count because the story was too old? By my count I have three critiques so far.
    I have returned, and plan on focusing on world-building. Issues are being dealt with.

    Quote Originally Posted by MesiDoomstalker View Post
    Thread won! I don't think I have the authority to do that but whatever

  20. - Top - End - #260
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    biggrin Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Roster Updated. Omegonaut, you do have 3 critiques. Stories are never too old to review.
    Sorry I forgot to update it.

  21. - Top - End - #261
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Critique of The Vision by Omeganaut

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    I enjoyed the idea of the story you're trying to tell and think its a great place to start, but you have a few things that could use some work.

    I loved the way in the first two paragraphs that used (mostly) the present tense: it gave the narrative an immediacy, thrusting the reader directly into the trial of the speaker, but you seem to have trouble staying in one tense. For example, the first two sentences read like this:

    An ordinary man, overworked and underpaid, finally vents a scream of frustration. In accordance with all laws of physics, it echoed in much the same way that concrete floats.

    You clearly begin in the present tense, in that our ordinary man "vents a scream of frustration" but in the second sentence you describe his scream as having "echoed". Something to keep in mind is that once you use one tense, you should try to keep the remainder of the story in the same tense. So these first sentences should read as the speaker "vented" a scream that "echoed", or he "vents" a scream that "echoes".

    This is merely an example of this issue, but its something that you do quite a bit through the story. While I think it would work well either way (though I'm partial to the way it reads in the present tense), you should be mindful of keeping the tense consistent throughout.

    Something else to keep in mind is the rule of "Show, Don't Tell". For example, when the speaker hears the voice that sends him on his path, you describe it as being:

    "Strong as any announcer and more forceful than a dictator"

    While this description certainly gets your point across, it begs the question: how is it more forceful than a dictator? How does the strength and power of the voice make the speaker feel? It must have been something incredibly wondrous and frightening to make a man, even one on the edges of despair, give up everything he had to spread the message he hears. Like I mentioned before, I like where you are, but you should try to flesh your descriptions out more.
    "Be the lamb, or be the knife. Try to be both, and you'll end up slaughtering yourself."

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

    @^, thanks for the critique, I'm going to go edit it again with your opinions in mind.

    Alright, here is a rather free-form poem I wrote, and I like what it says, but I want to make sure the rhythm comes across on the page well, or if its just strange.

    Some Funny Words about Life
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    Life is a conundrum
    you know, a funny word,
    one you can laugh at,
    but when you do,
    you get looked at funny,
    and you don’t want to laugh,
    because if it is funny,
    that makes you a laughingstock,
    which, ironically enough,
    is another funny word
    that depicts life.
    Well, at least,
    if it's not to engrossed
    with being itself.
    Wait, can a word do that?

    Life is an opossum,
    because just possum
    makes it sound uncouth,
    which, even though it is a funny word,
    and therefore by my logic
    an essential part of life,
    no-one wants to recognize
    that part of life’s past,
    doing so is just…, uncouth.

    Fasting is another
    funny word that can
    be applied to life,
    because, like fasting,
    life seems like it goes slow,
    but is really just a hiccup
    in the world’s workings,
    and looking back it’s awf’ly slim.

    Redundancy is another
    fun part of living
    with redundancy;
    you know, it’s that essential
    part of life we call
    being redundant.

    Possibly the grandest part
    is the old promenade,
    where you meander
    down the catwalk
    to the sound of your own
    beat-up old pick-up truck
    that has the same problem
    as the woman, but I can’t
    finish that statement
    on pain of the Pain of all pains.

    Life does contain its own
    sordid affairs,
    (two funny words there,)
    where your deepest desires
    triumph over reason,
    rationale, rhyme, and,
    if you are bad enough,
    rhythm as well.

    Speaking of rhythm, you need it,
    fortunately we all got it,
    you just need to find it
    deep within your sordid depths.

    And to go with that Rhythm,
    you need a sole
    that thing that’s always around,
    that wears down very slowly,
    and that keeps you up
    off of the ground.
    Well, at least until
    the day you need it most,
    then it swims away with you.

    Life is just fabulous,
    because no guy can
    say fabulous without
    questioning his manhood,
    just like no man
    can talk of life
    without doubting
    his own masculinity.

    Life has achieved maximum
    ridiculousness
    because really, honestly,
    it just is so, so you
    might as well make the most
    of it. Ridiculously!

    Most of all in life,
    you need l’amore,
    and not just that old breed,
    but a love of life,
    even of its idiosyncrasies,
    because hey,
    life is part of you,
    Funny words and all!
    Last edited by Omeganaut; 2011-08-11 at 12:27 AM.
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  23. - Top - End - #263
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    Lightbulb Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Critique of Some Funny Words About Life by Omeganaut

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    First off, I like how you lampshaded the redundancy in your poem by making a stanza about it.

    I see each sentence as its own stanza despite the lack of spacing. With such a clear separation of phrases, not having double spacing between your sentences made the piece feel more narrative, which in turn makes it more creative writing and less of a poem to me.

    I'm probably not getting it, but some of your points seem less funny ha ha and more funny as in odd. Such as life's past being an opossum that recognizing is uncouth, or if the word is funny then laughing makes you a laughingstock. these seem to be non sequiturs with circular logic.

    I got the puns on the third read through. They do a good job reinforcing your point about maximum ridiculousness, (which I think is a strong point to end on) but well, they're still puns.

    Regarding the poetic feel, some lines fall flat when read aloud such as, 'at least, if you think about it.' or, 'Life also consists of,' These lines are again the sort of phrasing in literary, rather than poetic prose.

    There are possible interpretations of the line, 'on pain of the Pain of all pains' so I don't feel irked at the ambiguity of the line. Is the middle Pain supposed to be capitalized?

    Overall I must applaud your poem because it has the courage to be what I find difficult- deliberately ridiculous.
    Last edited by Asthix; 2011-08-10 at 08:27 AM.
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Asthix, thank you very much for your feedback. Of course I appreciate ego-stoking (its rather hard not to), but your praise helps point out strong points and your criticism has much merit.

    Yes, I did mean both types of funny, playing into how I did use double meanings many times.

    I do realize some of the lines aren't exactly poetic, but I was feeling like adding colloquialism to a poem would both point out the absurdity of philosophical poems, and make it more earthy and less scholarly. However, I am going to look at the phrases you mention for flow.

    I capitalized the Pain of all pains because it is the worst pain, the King Pain, one that threatens to end life as one knows it, although my imagination isn't fertile or worldly enough to imagine what that horror would be.
    I have returned, and plan on focusing on world-building. Issues are being dealt with.

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

    Hooray! I finished a story! I have trouble with that. This tale is for a fanfiction contest for the online game, Spiral Knights.

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    I am a knight. I fell in battle, yet I did not die.

    When I awoke, it was into a kind of cage. One wall was a piece of roadway stacked vertical, the other two were solid stone. The worst part wasn't the spikes for a ceiling but the floor which was just a thin grating, sagging under my weight. I could see the hinges.

    The view through the grate was bad too. It was the view you sometimes got when you looked out into the distance inside the planet and saw the arc of the world turning. A great arc of stuff slowly rotating, with little knobs on it that must have held other lands like the one I was on. Only this time the arc stretched out big under me and it was uncomfortably obvious how far I would fall.

    Gone was the smooth ride manufactured by the gremlins in the elevator areas. A churning sound and air rushing past told me I was in constant motion. It lasted for too long, until I was... moved.

    Darkness enveloped me as I was drawn back into the jumble of planet parts. Strangely, the cage stayed around me, though I could see nothing through the bottom of it.

    Suddenly I was somewhere else. I had not fallen through the grate, but there was bright light. Wisps of smoke, like when a Fiend appears to block your path faded around me. As I gained my surroundings, I saw a number of other Knights in what looked like a well furnished lobby.

    "What's going on?" I shouted, wasting no time now that my fellow warriors were around me. It was then that I saw one of them hunch over, grab their head and begin to moan. I looked around in confusion, glimpsing some odd looking Fiends up on a platform beyond reach, next to a moneychanging Stranger. A few other Knights looked as confused as I was, but one grizzled old one stared at me.

    "This is new to some of you." He said, not breaking my gaze, "here, we fight. Or else we die."

    I began to ask him what that meant when a low chime began to sound, four times in all. Then everything changed again.

    There was that same smoke, and I realized I'd been summoned just like those fiends! How had they done this? The lights were even brighter here, and there was cheering. I glimpsed bleachers full of monsters before I turned my attention to my immediate surroundings.

    I was in a small, L shaped space. There were walls on either side that weren't too tall which I could just see over if I stretched. I saw the top of a knight's head, and as I did an explosion blasted next to them! I moved away from it, into the corner.

    There was a familiar weight on my back. It wasn't my shield, but some kind of Gremlin pack filled with small blue spheres. They were very smooth and one slipped out of my hand and fell on the ground when I took it out. As I bent over to pick it up and my hand touched it, there was a click and it began to expand. I backed up but the thing quickly covered my legs and began to block the corridor! What's strange was that I moved through it like water, until I stopped touching it. then I felt its solidity before moving as far away from it as possible. I had a pretty good idea what it would do and sure enough, the surface started quivering faster and faster before blowing up like the other blast I'd seen. The blue flame didn't reach me though.

    Before I could think, another blast from my neighbor blew the wall next to me to bits, showering stone chips all over and revealing one of the knights from the lobby. The one who got emotional.

    "Tell me we can fight these monsters and not ourselves." I said backing up to the wall. The knight only giggled stupidly in response.

    The wall was shorter than the others and made of that impenetrable stuff I'd seen inside the planet. Glancing over showed a nasty drop into blackness and beyond that massive plates of metal stacked up, which looked salvaged from a battleship. I could see no weapons, yet I could see no way to the fiends cheering our destruction either.

    I turned back to the knight but where they had been there was now only an amber colored bomb blocking the way, already pulsing. There was nowhere to go, only time to cringe. It blew and I died again.

    Only, it still wasn't death. It only felt like it. I lay on the ground, unable to move. These were stun bombs then, though more powerful than any I'd heard of. Stabs of pain like a shock treatment sure made it feel like I'd been hit by a bomb, yet to the outside world I looked like a corpse.

    I could barely see down the hallway that the other Knight had blown open. Soon they came back into view, followed closely by a second Knight, one I didn't recognize. That one took a bomb (green) and set it on the ground, activating it much more quickly than I had unwittingly done earlier. Then they sprinted down the hallway toward me, faster than I would have thought possible. Catching up to the other knight who was frantically running away, they passed them and planted another bomb right in front of my prone form, blocking my view and trapping the first Knight in the corridor.

    It happened so fast I didn't understand until later what had taken place, that the unknown Knight had hunted the other one. I lay paralyzed, wondering if I would be finally killed by the jeering monsters or by one of my fellow knights, I was denied the satisfaction of either.

    I was summoned again. This time it was back to the battlefield, back to this sport for the enemy who was hooting and yowling on all sides. The paralysis was gone, only the soreness of being hit by the blast wave remained. I decided to move.

    There were long hallways with short openings here and there but I kept going, the almost constant explosions all around driving me on. This was a mistake. As I rounded a corner without looking a blast wave was rushing towards me. Diving back around the corner almost saved me but I got hit on the leg. Any hope of only being partly paralyzed vanished instantly as numbness shot through my entire body, though this time the pain was only in the leg that got hit.

    It took a little over ten seconds to be summoned by my count. By this time more of the arena was opening up as the blocks that could get blown up were demolished, leaving the unbreakable ones in a grid pattern. After that things got a little hard to follow. I set a bomb, but the blast was far smaller than some others flying around. Of course, I wouldn't expect Fiends and Gremlins to play fair. I just didn't know how to begin trying to blast others. Remembering the old Knight's words, I knew I had to play this sport. If I did not, who's to say I wouldn't be sent into a lava pit somewhere?

    Eventually all was chaos and running and dying, broken only by the sound of the low chime from before. Once it sounded four times the monsters cheered and in a puff of smoke I was back in the cage I had awoken to at the start of this ordeal.

    -----

    Many battles have passed and I have learned much. I know that my fellow warriors forced into this bloodsport are under the control of a Fiend named Krogmo. It is he who surveys us from a high platform before the battle.

    I know much about the setting of bombs, such as when to avoid setting any and when to lay down as many as possible. Chaining the blasts together in patterns should only be done in that short interval between when existing bombs explode and the time it takes for new ones to charge.

    There are very fine details that not many know of. If someone else is touching you when you set your bomb, they will be unable to move out of the confines of it until you do. While you pass through it freely, the other Knight is seemingly stuck in glue. When you break contact with the bomb, this strange property is lost and your opponent is free to move where they wish. In effect, only one Knight at a time may move through a bomb expanding around them. The key is to slip away at just the right time so that you escape the blast and your opponent cannot.

    By far the most important thing is to avoid getting hit. When a Knight finally stops trying to go after others and focuses on saving their own parts, this is when skill is grown.

    They obviously bet on us, certain Knights get more howls than others. The ones who are almost impossible to kill are more popular. the ones who refuse to fight are not seen again. I know I will never be among the elite warriors of the arena. I hit myself with my own blasts more often than almost anyone else. To avoid the death we all believe is waiting for us if we do not amuse our captors, I decided to take on a different role.

    When I learned that those who avoid blasts do better, I chose to not play defensive, but rather offensive. I go after those who hang back, especially I go after the elite Knights like the old one I met in my first match, the ones who are hard to kill. I know I do this better than the others, and so my place in the lineup is likely. Still, that old Knight glides around my traps and feints. No matter what I do, I can never get them without taking a blast of theirs in return.

    I am the hunter. I know that many of the captive Knights despise me and my tactics, but if I ever get the chance I will hunt Krogmo and any Fiend, Wolver or Gremlin that gets in my way with the same zeal. I know why they re-summon us within fifteen seconds. If it goes longer than that, the stun begins to wear off.

    I don't know how to communicate this to my fellow captives, but I'm beginning to be able to wiggle my fingers after ten seconds or so of being stunned. If only this curse of summoning were removed there would be hope of an overthrow, or at least an honorable fight to the death!

    May I never meet one of my guildmates here. May our order conquer this planet and in so doing, liberate us.

    Until that day, I will be the hunter.
    Last edited by Asthix; 2011-08-21 at 05:45 PM.
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Some poems: (The first one is one just I decided to make up on the spot right now. The other two are ones I put actual effort into.)

    Conan the Grammarian
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    The are freaking annoying
    They are like a big troll
    but not as ugly and loud
    When they speak, they still make my eyes roll

    They are Conan the Grammarian
    Cleaving ordinary conversation
    with their axes of grammar-ation
    They pillage the village of words
    and punctuate them with spears

    Sure, the guys who like to correct peoples spelling
    are pretty cool
    I can't understand a thing the average internet idiot says
    in such a cesspool.

    But isn't the grammar thing going a little too far?
    trying to fit all the words in the world
    into a little correct jar?

    I'm just really tired of barbarian pedantry
    I'd just like all my little words flying
    with my nouns, verbs, and prepositions soaring free.
    Why chain them all up
    in some weird arcane order for everyone to see?

    I don't understand you Conan the Grammarian
    I like my words free and flowing
    Maybe I'm just a tasteless barbarian
    Thats all now, I gotta get going.


    Outwards, now Inwards
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    You see me bored like stone
    Outwards, now Inwards
    Thinking in copper-brass vines
    My mind forever electrically observing
    Always creating an endless rainbow foundation of ideas

    You see me slacking off
    Outwards, now Inwards
    I am pondering the next surreal floor
    of the spiral tower that are my projects
    devising the next multifaceted crystal puzzle piece

    You see my eyes half-lidded
    Outwards, now Inwards
    My imagination constantly flowing like emerald lava
    Mixing to solidify into shining sculptures

    You hear a flat monotone
    Outwards, now Inwards
    I hear a constant mercurial scribbling
    in the spherical pages of my mind
    An endless invention of sharp cities and silver songs.


    High Class, Low Motion
    (Best read while hearing This)
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    A lazy turquoise fountain, hypnotic and foaming

    A million shining sapphire drops of the blood of clouds
    falling upon the keyboard of the golden grand piano

    Two rows of soldier-standing palm trees in the night
    extending into forever, lit by the joy of the five star hotel
    standing guard over the finely cut floor of grass

    The mercury mirror waterfront reflecting the full dime moon
    Through rainbow jigsaw puzzle windows
    Accompanied by the sound of indigo-blue conversation

    Men in skyscraper top-hats and black knights armor tuxedos
    Armed with a brass champagne shield and the sharp sword of wit
    With lounging celebrities wearing smooth obsidian clouds on their eyes

    While ladies with flowing waterfall hair and long ruby claw nails
    Sing a little song of laughter in their labyrinth tree-swaying gowns
    Issued from pearl-white teeth and blood-colored lips
    while precariously balancing upon their columns of high heels

    A crystal sun chandelier hangs in the extravagant cherry ceiling sky
    with soft clothed mesas decorated with silver and wax towers of fire
    complimented by cities of steel plates inhabited by spoons and forks
    Where they do silent battles with meat and vegetables finest battalion.
    Serving their titanic genial masters of night and light.

    Chefs, in their palace kitchens with their sparkling mirror tools
    Where they sprinkle snow salt upon summer Spanish steak
    And rain down wads of pepper-hail upon spring French snail
    While they powder on sugar mist on top of fall cinnamon rolls
    And flood it all with spices and sauce on top of winter Russian cuisine

    Meanwhile, servants glide around upon the marble floor
    In their wandering shadow-specter deliveries, dark and unseen
    The quiet invisible ghosts of this living aquamarine party
    Their statue strong dignity higher than the decadence around him

    Meanwhile, a bearded homeless man looks up at the full moon as he starves to death.

  27. - Top - End - #267
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Conan the Grammarian
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    I like the idea behind it, and I think it could be good, it just needs some work to get there. I'd also aim for a more regular structure, just because you seem so close. Four line stanzas with ABCB rhyme pattern would probably work well. Trimming it down to that shouldn't be hard, especially considering you already have the rhyme.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Outwards, now Inwards
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    Honestly, I don't really feel this one. Your just describing you thinking creatively behind a bland exterior four times. If it had more imagery and metaphors it could work, but right now it just doesn't really cause me to think (and I tend to define poetry as words that make you think or see the world differently).


    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    High Class, Low Motion

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    It just doesn't flow. Yes, I get the ending, that is really good, but the rest of it feels like it should flow into each idea from the previous, and instead it jumps around. It could flow based on a color, or a metaphor, or a bit of story (man takes something from waiter, then goes to a conversation with a beautiful woman). It just jumps around like random photographs which doesn't fit the picture.

    I hope I haven't been to harsh on you. You do have really original ideas, I just feel that you generally could use more self-revision on your work so that we on the forums can critique things you or a proof-reader couldn't do (and yes, I did go beyond that most of the time here). I hope this helps Lord Raziere.


    EDIT: adding another critique
    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtix
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    It is an interesting story, but I feel that it doesn't really explore much that could be explored in this setting. Also, I hope you will add onto it, as it is very unfinished. Even if the game just keeps going like this, stories should have a conclusion, and yours leaves many things in the air. Another thing; I'd have the knight give himself a name. It doesn't have to be his original name, but he should have something to identify himself by. I feel that a captive in his position would want to hang onto some sort of identity, as the other knights would not be much different from him, especially to the demons. I do want to say I like your short, choppy sentences. They really fit the narrator.
    Last edited by Omeganaut; 2011-09-04 at 10:40 PM.
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    .....those last two were my best poems I ever made....

    sigh.....nevermind the poems no more then, I'll stick to stories. and wasn't I supposed to do "The Real Saima Ragara"? beh. gotta get back to that.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Omeganaut View Post
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    It is an interesting story, but I feel that it doesn't really explore much that could be explored in this setting. Also, I hope you will add onto it, as it is very unfinished. Even if the game just keeps going like this, stories should have a conclusion, and yours leaves many things in the air. Another thing; I'd have the knight give himself a name. It doesn't have to be his original name, but he should have something to identify himself by. I feel that a captive in his position would want to hang onto some sort of identity, as the other knights would not be much different from him, especially to the demons. I do want to say I like your short, choppy sentences. They really fit the narrator.
    Thank you so much for the critique. I've been experimenting with self editing lately and have gravitated towards being as spare as possible, (perhaps too much) so I can appreciate your point about room for more exploration of the plot. the fact that this was for a competition with a deadline though meant I had no time to do so, since I would not have had time to edit it, and any subplots likely would have ballooned it to 5000 words. Though I may just act on some inspiration I've had because of your critique.

    I've been writing in what I think of as dramatic monologue first person for my last three stories and have not given the character a name in an attempt to have the reader perhaps project themselves onto the character. But I know I'm not nearly a good enough writer for that. I guess it has been an exercise to minimize the word, 'I' while still relying on it.

    I'll try to give them a name and perhaps third person present tense next time.
    Last edited by Asthix; 2011-09-06 at 07:07 PM.
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    .....those last two were my best poems I ever made....

    sigh.....nevermind the poems no more then, I'll stick to stories. and wasn't I supposed to do "The Real Saima Ragara"? beh. gotta get back to that.
    We do things to get good at them, not because we're already good at them, and giving up is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It doesn't even mean they were horrible just because the first person who reviewed them didn't care for them. It seems like that's what this place is for, at least.


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