Reviewed [TWFNE] Week 197: Appearance In Dawn - Feedback

Bat Cthulhu

[Message Deleted]
Jun 18, 2009
Okay, I’m going to try some feedback. I’ll primarily focus on the “fight,” since that was what I was most involved in. I will, however, mention some of the other aspects, including Finny’s contribution to his fancy thread.

I’m also, rather jokingly, assigning you reading. You don’t have to. I just find that looking to established media helps us see how other people overcome hurdles that they may be experiencing. And I can use it to be funny or recommend a good book to someone.

Finny: Mechanically, you’re very consistent with your dialogue, which is something all of us can work on. If I remember correctly, in fact, that was what you always harped on me back when you were my grader! I’m glad to see you practice what you preach. Very minor typos would slip in otherwise. Keep up the good work.

Otherwise, I like the way you approached this thread. It has the feel of a tabletop campaign, with you as the GM. There could have been a bit more fishing for knowledge that the “players” could have done but with respect to the "leader" of the group (Keydis rushes in is going to be a thing for the forseeable future), there's some leniency that can be applied. The formatting on the premise was good and gave a sense of urgency. Keep up the good work and I’m excited to see how this “adventure” plays out.

Recommended Reading: Dungeon Master’s Guide by Wizards of the Coast, preferably either the 3.5 or 5th edition guides.

Moon/Myst: Before I get to individual comments, there is something I want you both to work on in regards to open collabs. I counted the wounds that you guys let yourself take. I got 4 or 5 very minor wounds across 3 characters. The only serious wound is Gwendolyn’s, which I wrote as just happening, something I’m usually fairly loathe to do. Other than that, the worst damage she got was scratching her palms when she fell. Aeria maybe got the wind knocked out of her and a “glancing blow.” Dia literally did not get hit at all that I can see.

Part of this can be contributed to Keydis tanking a lot and Will using his talents very well to keep it focused, but a good part of that is on y’all. There has to be some give and take in a fight, to keep some tension. If you go back and reread that, do you feel like y’alls characters portrayed the sense that they were in danger? If you read it turn by turn, where you’re like “how is my character gonna get out of this?” then sure. But now that the story is finished, I don’t feel like your characters were ever in any real danger. Gwendolyn losing her leg comes across as a shock, despite the circumstances.

So just work on the give and take. Communicate with the person you are fighting if you have to. They’re writing a story just like you are.

Recommended Reading: Monster Hunter Series, By Larry Correia. Ignore this guy’s political leanings if you want (He’s tea party, and it shows.) But his fights show both people taking hits in most of them, and even when it doesn’t, it showcases how to take a hit, sometimes some pretty bad ones, and realistically keep going.

Moon: Mechanically, you’re fine. You have a background in a writing career and it shows. I very rarely ever catch any real mistakes in your writing and the same is here. You’re very consistent.

As far as the actual words you are writing, however, there is a few issues that I would like you to work on. It comes across as very mechanical and even paint by numbers. Not to say it isn’t enjoyable. I enjoy how you are able to consistently write two characters and make them feel like two characters with their own personalities in their words and thoughts.. You didn’t even really lose track of them in the open thread, which I know is a hard hurdle to jump through.

Work on emphasizing the characters emotions and what words would describe them doing an action versus another person. Make the characters come to life a bit more in their actions versus just their words and thoughts.

Recommended Reading: Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, focusing specifically on how he describes some of the different characters doing similar actions, such as Thomas Raith or Kincaid versus Sanya or Karen Murphy.

Will: Mechanically, all’s there. Like I said with moon, you have a writing background. This ain’t your first rodeo. I like how you inject Keydis’ emotions into the narrative, even though it’s third person. You can feel how pissed she is.

Thematically, Keydis was the lodestone of the fight and of the collab, which fits in her nature. She’s brash and makes decisions quickly, for better or worse. She also gets punished appropriately for her straightforward approach. She reminds me of Yusuke from Yu Yu Hakusho. Angry and not bright, but great fighting instincts. However, now she has to carry the cuts and bruises and maybe cracked ribs from this fight, as well as the exhaustion. I wanna see how the she deals with not being able to run frontman every fight. Will she refuse and rush to an early grave or big wound? Or will she let someone else do the heavy lifting? How will that affect her pride? How will her pride affect her decision?

Recommended Reading: Actually a movie, but John Wick 2. Watch how John Wick gets banged up and never really has time to fix it as the movie goes on and how he deals with it. If you want a readable, then perhaps the last arc of The Boys, where the main character goes through a lot of shit and has to keep going.

Myst: Mechanically, my only big issue was the weird screaming thing you did, and that could be more style. Typically, I am never a fan of using caps to indicate shouting. We have bold, italics, underlining, and even a combination of the three to help describe it, so capital letters can be reserved for speech mannerisms, signs, and the like. Again, that’s more of a style thing, in my opinion.

As far as everything else goes, I am of two minds. For one, I really really really like the idea of Gwen not doing too much to help out and being scared shitless. However, at a certain point, it somewhat breaks the suspension of disbelief. If all she is doing is defending herself, that’s okay. If she is running away and defending herself, that’s fine. She’s a young girl who was not quite ready for adventure. It would even make sense for her to buck up and be a little reckless and attack. But what is causing her to defend herself, not attack, and run towards the big scary? She certainly does not seem like an idiot, and she was doing fine during the small fray before the big battle. I could not get a good grasp of her logic in your writing. I guess I’m just a little confused is all.

It seems, however, that she got a decent reality check. I’m curious to see how it goes from there.

Recommended Reading: Black Company, by Glen Cook. It is very good about explaining people’s thought processes and why they do some of the more irrational things they do.

That’s all I got guys. Lemme know if you have comments, questions, or concerns. Do remember that a lot of this is my personal opinion and you’re more than welcome to disagree with me, but that I love you all and wish the best. So eat your veggies or you go to bed hungry.
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Staff member
Feb 18, 2008
Griff: All in all, this was solidly written, with only minor errors popping out. Remember that a possessive for 'it' does not include an apostrophe (its mace, its armor); the apostrophe is only used to contract "it is" like "it's going to kill us!" In the first post, you switch between 'he' and 'it' but every post after, you have the guardian solidified as 'it.' Beyond those, just rare typos and occasional extra words, although I admit that I laughed when you used "the Keydis" like she was a weapon instead of a character.

Writing a baddie against a whole group is a difficult thing, but you manage it well. I know out of character that there was some frustration when your turns were misread or your attacks were brushed off, but none of it comes through in the writing. It took pressure from the GMs before you actually delivered a serious wound in-turn rather than leaving it open for the writer's to determine. I think that may be what stood out to me most: your grace in dealing with the situation, facing four characters from three writers who weren't in any way organized.

Style-wise, your guardian manages to be imposing and cool despite an utter lack of backstory or dialogue. It reacts smartly, uses its monstrous traits to its advantage. You took disjointed turns and reacted to them as if they were coordinated, and your last turn especially takes some minimalist writing and expands on it, giving Aeria a chance to show some martial skill and allowing Keydis' reckless attack to have a real impact. It's good writing, good roleplay, and good collaboration.

One thing that I would leave you to work on is to pump up the urgency in your posts. Something I still try to work on myself is reducing the use of the word "as" since it makes writing feel more passive. It's a natural pattern to fall into with RP, especially when responding to multiple characters, because you're trying to acknowledge what they're all doing. Think of this like a continued progression away from repeating turns -- which is not what's happening here -- and toward creating distinct continuations of the story. Part of this requires the turns you're working with to also have this idea in mind, of course.

Avoiding redundancy is also helpful: repetition should only ever be used intentionally and it shouldn't be done frequently. An example here: Her blade worked as she moved, slashing incoming tentacles as they reached up to lash against her. The black appendages fell, still twisting and writhing as they crashed to the ground. They kept writhing impotently at the guardian’s feet. You could rephrase this better as follows: Her blade slashed incoming tentacles that reached up to lash against her. The black appendages crashed to the ground, still twisting and writhing impotently at the guardian’s feet.

Recommended Reading: RA Salvatore is actually a good author to look to for examples in handling one-versus-many battles in writing. The Drizzt series, beginning with the Icewind Dale Trilogy, is an obvious choice, but you could also look into books featuring Artemis Entreri, starting with The Sellswords.
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