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Author Topic: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread  (Read 51355 times)

Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #105 on: December 08, 2016, 11:13:36 PM »
Ah, thanks, now that's a very positive review, full of nice compliment, even if sometimes indirect. The immersive effect is what I tried hard to aim for, since it's what pulled me most in the book I read before that month (omg, wondering how fed up everyone must be of me mentioning Red Dragon everywhere?).

So really glad it worked on you!

The "levels" were meant to be Histamine levels, meant to be studied in order to decide if wounds are done post or pre mortem.
I forgot what the term was, it's often used on CSI type shows. Sadly if you google it, you find papers like that :

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12166591

I also thought it'd work great as a novella (just put up some of the extra passages up for review), but like always I'll need a lot of determination to make it work. I found the character pretty compelling.

I'm not fussed with people thinking Lone is a guy, but I think it needs to be made clear early that she's a woman for any longer work, because the relationship I'm building between her and Lem is not a bloke-to-bloke one.
Mentally she could also fit a guy, but I have enough hassles writing a story set in America. I won't go and wander writing a 1st person guy pov.

And no, the dead show only if she blinks, but imagine trying to drive in a city! The blinking thing needs focus to keep it from 'wandering', so she'd often be seeing nightmare-inducing stuff anyway :P

By the By @TOMunro do you want reviews too? Because you were also my first pick!  ;)
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline TOMunro

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #106 on: December 08, 2016, 11:59:43 PM »
@Nora I'm always interested in feedback of any kind. Writing is too often a business of sending stuff out into a void and even when you get the lovely plaudits of people's votes you never know quite what they liked or would have preferred different.

I was quite pleased with how Where There's a Will, turned out but - as is often the case - it was done in a bit of a rush and there are a few things I could have tried to tidy up on. I wonder if they are the same things you saw?  :)

Offline LightRunner

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #107 on: December 09, 2016, 04:12:49 AM »
@Lanko Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad the story wasn't too confusing - there's a fine line between info-dumping and under explaining. I think I tend to land on the info-dumping side of that, but I'm working on it.

@TOMunro I don't have too much feedback on this. It was well written, and I loved the last line.

I'm trying to remember what I thought on my first read, and I think I felt a little overwhelmed by the number of characters. Maybe that was the intention, with the sisters and the wife and the brother, but it was a little bit of a detractor for me.

Looking at it closely, I have one minor question that doesn't really impact the story, but might or might not be worth thinking about:

How long has Tomas been dead for? If he's been dead for a while and she still wanted to bequeath more to him than to the others, then why didn't she change the language in the will regarding him predeceasing her? The way it is written, Tomas is aware of the predeceased clause; if he weren't, I would think he would ask to see the language in the will.

Again, doesn't really impact the story, but I think the answer to the question reveals a little more about the characters.

Offline TOMunro

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #108 on: December 09, 2016, 06:42:23 PM »
@LightRunner Thanks for the feedback.  I'm glad you liked the last line, in my mind the whole story pretty much grew backwards from that point.

I did try to do the sums about how long Tomas had been dead for and how old his mother would have to have been when she died in order to have so many grown up children (one of them several times married).  I figured he'd been dead about 15 years and it was that death + reanimation that led to his alienation from his family.  It would make him late 30s maybe.

The will is a tricky plot point and the essential throwaway line "I know she never changed it" begs a lot of questions - how does he know? have they been in contact etc - it was a necessary sleight of hand to fit within the word limit.

The best way I could imagine it is that she was alienated from him but never changed her will and he knew this possibly from some contact with the family solicitors.  I figured the predeceased clause is a normal phrase in many a will - just one that probably didn't have to be applied to the reanimated dead.

I did like "Some call it freedom" the anthropomorphising of individual body parts. It reminded me of various children's stories that had that element - I think one about the day the rest of the body rebelled against the lazy stomach and decided not to take orders from it.  But this updated that theme with some nice biological detail.

Quote
surviving even an attack led by the heart
made me smile at a meaning I think I was meant to infer and then

Quote
“Gone. We’re free.” The hormones drifted languorously.

While it had a certain light hearted quality, there was also the sort of grim reality underpinning it that death is more a process than an instant.  We don't know how "She" died and in a way that might have been an interesting one or two sentence prologue.  Though the story still works well with the cerebrum flexing its muscles - like the forst lieutenant discovering he has just been bequeathed command of a sinking ship.

On a science note - I wonder if perhaps you meant cerebellum rather than cerebrum. My recollection is that the cerebrum is more associated with consciousness and personality (the "She"), while the cerebellum is more of the "secretary" function your protagonist is ascribed by the brainstem. Though that query did not the spoil the story for me, or even occur to me until I re-read it.

Offline Lanko

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #109 on: December 09, 2016, 09:44:13 PM »
The Raid, by @Captain of the Guard

Spoiler for Hiden:
Selected Quote:
Quote
What they saw was the two hugging, sobbing girls, the bloody and gored goblin corpses and encased in a pillar of ember, the mummified corpse of the last goblin king….

Something Amazing: The Dark Woods were set up very well. Dark, wet, mysterious. Goblins are also not commonly used, so another point there.

Theme Appropriateness: Low.
I thought the spear was what kept the goblins at bay, but it seemed to be the corpse of the mummified goblin king. Still, it appeared so late in the story, specially when the bulk of it is about the two girls trying to survive in the woods.

Conflict and Tension: Medium.
The girls in the wood was very well done. Externally we have their physical conditions, cold, lack of food, being pursued by goblins and being in uncharted territory. Internally, you have fear mixed with courage, annoyance, whining, and so on.
Maybe the fight with the goblins was too easy since they didn't react.

Something Confusing: I didn't understand why the two goblins seemed so in shock. For me that was a goblin cave that looked their home base. There were even more goblins talking there (and they ran away).

Also, Samina says goblin speech "was all grunts, yips and growls", so if communication with them was supposedly impossible, I was wondering how she did she know the names of the two she killed (Longrunner and Headcleaver).

Addendum: You have a lot passages with "she thought", so I think you intended those passages to be in italics to indicate internal thought. When you copy-paste from any word processor, formatting like bold or italics won't automatically transfer. You have to manually format it using the forum tools. You're not the first one that had this happening. Maybe we should put a warning when announcing the theme of the month.

I hope this critique was helpful to you!
« Last Edit: December 09, 2016, 09:46:07 PM by Lanko »
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline Lady Ty

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #110 on: December 10, 2016, 01:06:38 AM »
Please, become my grandma Lady_Ty! Not too late to adopt me!  ;D ;D
No problem, delighted and, like all good Grandmas, am in discussions with a Matchmaker to get you sorted out straightaway.  :P :P :P :P


Coming in rather late, with apologies, because I am slow, but here are a few comments from me

Blink by @Nora

Spoiler for Hiden:
Awesomeness

This was deliciously horrendous leap straight into darkness, although in fact didn't guess the author correctly, but once I knew not at all surprised. :P

Unusual oblique approach and I was intrigued by the idea of the Death Eyes that could see through those of corpses, really grim but clever concept. What a terrible talent to live with, there were hints of earlier disaster which left me wondering if this had always been so or if the Death Eyes had been the result of some other event. It didn't matter, because this story stood on its own just left me wanting to know more and how the eyes worked.

Soon found out as the tense search built up and we saw glimpses through the eyes of other corpses and the variety of what they were seeing. Also added to the picture of what Lone went through all the time. Incidental sighting of yet another murder to be solved was a good detail.

I also assumed that Lone was male, because the name conjured up a male nickname for a loner, which is what she had become, but it was irrelevant in this instance.

The final views with the murderer were horrific and the slim chance which led to his capture was clever, this emphasised even more the hopeless twist that Lone can only ever find clues when it is too late for the victims. Very grim but intriguing and it got an easy vote from me. 

Confusing /Query

Why didn't the dead corpses in the morgue reveal the killers physical features even though they never had chance to see surroundings or location?  This made me assume at first they could only see for a limited time, but then later there was a bloated corpse still able to see, so that was confusing. I think you may have answered this elsewhere by now, so will check.
 
Quote
Such drives are long gone, and my own case is another thing 'Caulk' cannot mend. I didn't retire for nothing.
That is a fine hint and enticement about a past,to justify being a loner,  but then later in dreams there is much harsher hint 

Quote
I drift asleep, my mind stumbling into dreams of the past, corpses I made, where I blink back up at my own blood-speckled face, my eyes like twin black holes amidst a red galaxy.

This implied Lone may have been a killer herself in the past and it detracts too far from the thrust of this particular story, even if relevant as part of a longer one.  If only nightmare it still felt confusing.


Affinity by @Crystallynnfairy

Spoiler for Hiden:
Awesomeness

This story got my vote for several reasons. What appealed in particular was reading from the viewpoint of the child Mella and I felt for her so strongly on several occasions and could relate.

Firstly, the process of having to see Grandmother in a coffin  and realising she didn't smell or look right. Having the cinnamon candy to slip into the coffin, a loving gesture between them to make it feel better. All Grandmas have a particular smell associated and it is often one they like to use in baking or special treats they give nibble on. That little touch got a huge tick from me.

Clever indications of the kind of world, but without long detail, by showing it was unusual for a crowd with diverse magical talent to be all gathered together at once. Obviously not all those talents were mutually respectful but Grandmother as a Birther needed by all.
 
I was fully engaged in the part where Mella was absorbed in playing and manipulating the loved marionette and then the tension as Fedar began to remove his gloves.  Confirmation of magic as power in this world with his spiteful action.

The final build up and the last sentence were stunning. I was wickedly cheering at the form her anger took as she discovered her hidden power and a bit sorry her mother had to stop her.

This seems to be a part of a whole, and I would like to know more of the world and its characters, but it stood perfectly well on its own. Hope you will keep writing more stories here, Crystalllynfairy. ;D

Confusing/Query

Switching from past to present tense a few times, especially in the incident with the marionette. This may have been done on purpose to show heightening of  tension, but I felt it read awkwardly.

Just wondered if giving the candy had any actual transfer of power significance between Grandmother and Mella? I took it as a loving gesture but later wondered if it meant more.

Some Called it Freedom by @LightRunner

Spoiler for Hiden:
Awesomeness

This whole concept blew me away, a Corpse in a state of denial. ;D

 The different approach first got my attention and then with more clever detail and wit coming across clearly, without any unnecessary detail in the prose, this story had me smiling all the way through. The dialogue style was excellent.

Awesome having a Body Politic, which thought and presumably learned from their real life persona, who was unfortunately now deceased perhaps from stress in the government fast lane, and I enjoyed reading from the pov of the arrogant bossy cerebrum.

Assumed the biological detail was correct and not sufficiently informed to know otherwise, but it didn't matter as all that was needed came across perfectly.

Stealing Lanko's crit  style for two quotes that cracked me up with the fun of their accuracy, but there were many other places where I grinned with delight.

Quote
She had abused the lungs, inhaling that wonderful smoke. It had made the cerebrum happy, but it did upset the lungs. That seemed to happen a lot; whenever She pleased one department, She upset another. The cerebrum supposed that happened in a lot of bureaucracies
;D

Quote
The cerebrum pulsed, calling adrenaline and noradrenaline. But only a few weary messengers came. They always seemed weary, except when they traveled in riotous mobs. ;D
Happy to give it my vote, thank you for the fun, hope you keep on writing for us, Lightrunner.

Hoy Girl by @Jmack

Spoiler for Hiden:
Awesomeness

Quote
“Thou must kiss her,” said Marley’s pa.

Gran’s body that been weeding, picking, and pickling yesterday were laid on her bed like a pea pod shelled. Nothing good left inside.

What an uncompromising start, immediately put me on side of whoever Marley is and I was almost certain I guessed the author from here on in.

I absolutely revelled in the change to an earlier time and the rural American setting, somehow that  put me on to Jmack. Perhaps in his childhood there may have still  been a few of such characters still around, crosses between friendly Jeb Partridge  :-[ Jed Clampett and the stern couple in  the American Gothic picture, the whole atmosphere was very authentic.

The careful prose drew me straight into Marley's mind easily, and into the whole intimidating scene all those big men towering around Marley, one of them certainly willing her to fail. Brother Kent was an excellent creation and with those little turns of phrase you could see right into his murky soul, and Marley has him figured alright, which bodes well for her later on.
Quote
Oh, he were a sneaking man were Brother Kent, asking that like a little knife to slip between Gran and Marley, ……………………Except that Brother Kent were wrong. Gran told Marley a lot. It were just Marley hadn’t quite understood some of it before.

Very impressed by keeping up the dialect so well all the way through. Also what a clever trick to leave out any obvious or conventional magic, only that wrought from tradition, superstition and faith.  Very unusual approach here and made it all the more memorable, although I didn't know you had planned that at the time of reading.  Granny Weatherwax would be happy, Jmack.

Last two down to earth sentences were perfect.

No confusion, no queries and gladly given a vote


« Last Edit: December 10, 2016, 11:22:03 AM by Lady_Ty »
“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
Leigh Bardugo, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Offline Lanko

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #111 on: December 10, 2016, 11:04:39 PM »
Affinity, by @Crystallynnfairy

Spoiler for Hiden:
Selected Quote:
Quote
He brings his ungloved hand to the cheek of the doll and caresses it. The marionette dissolves into a pile of dust.
"I may do that to your grandmother's body."

Something Amazing: The feeling of loss and the little personal details Mella and her mother had of the grandmother, like the cinnamon scent and the candy. Fedar is the psycho brat that would make a great antagonist to Mella for everything she will do from now on.

Theme Appropriateness:Very high.
Grandma dies, and there's a ceremony for her. Fedar, joking or not, threatens to dissolve the body. Mella manifests her powers and controls the body to slap him.

Conflict and Tension: Medium.
Emotionally it's very high, with the feelings of loss from Mella and anger because of Fedar. Physically there's the threat of Fedar dissolving the body and Mella goes to great lengths to protect it, even if Fedar was just pissing her off.
It looked like there was much more to it, but maybe you ran out of time, considering the short length. Things that left me wondering, like how Grandma died - was the different scent because of death or a subtle hint to something more? Or between Mella-Mom-Grandma relationship and something more personal with Fedar.

Something Confusing: ---

Addendum:Someone mentioned the formatting. The story has no issues reading on Kindle, but in the forum it did lack paragraph breaks. I guess it couldn't be helped, as this was your first submission and instead of posting and editing you had to send to someone else to post. And I see you got that perfectly covered already in the 1750 story  :D

Hope this critique was useful to you!

Hoy Girl, by @Jmack

Spoiler for Hiden:
Selected Quote:
Quote
"Hells, Gran. Won't do any good to give you a smack, so I guess I gotta give you that kiss."

Something Amazing:The setting has an extremely good setup. I knew it was some small, isolated and traditional village, but it still took me halfway into the story to realize the usage of "were" instead of "was" and "is" instead of "are" - and vice-versa - were also part of the character's upbringing and local culture, and not typos. Guess Americans would have picked up that earlier as dialect used in the interior parts of the country (or in the past), but I still got it, so it worked  ::)

Also exploring themes like belief vs reality, or certain answers meeting new questions. As the character comes to realize the whole ritual might be a lie, and the conversations with her Grandma also imply the same thing, it's also pretty clear that Marley has magical powers, so is the hoy girl really a deception or just she who didn't yet see it? Pretty good, as those doubts are the same for a lot of people in relation to our own world and keep readers curious and wondering.

Theme Appropriateness: Very High.
Grandma's body. Grandma's job also involved corpses. Marley was slowly being trained into it as well. She has a corpse in front of her. Also, the corpse ritual is a major event that affects everyone in this society.

Conflict and Tension:Medium-High?
Internal conflict is very high. Everything she believed and took for granted is shattered. She is full of doubts, questions and fear. Morally, she now knows she may just be continuing a lie, and ironically, giving more prestige so another takes her place and continues an infinity cycle.
External conflict wasn't as high. She's intimidated by the presence of so many men looming over her, expecting her to do what's simply expected of her. I wondered if this meant something more, but would still be intimidation or expectations and that would fall under internal conflict as involves emotions. Maybe we should have a threat or sense of danger of what could happen to her if she failed.

Something Confusing:---

Hope this critique was useful to you!

Where There's a Will, by @TOMunro

Spoiler for Hiden:
Selected Quote:
Quote
“Ah,” he said. “I see you have your mother’s eyes.”

Something Amazing:Very well-written, good catchy descriptions and bickering (I loved the part "Try not to drop any fingers on your way out"). Death insurance is a... creative business, certainly. The last line was killer.

Theme Appropriateness:Very High.
Thomas goes to the mansion to see his mother's body. Meets the family and contract clauses of the will don't apply to walking corpses. Is a corpse himself.

Conflict and Tension:Very High.
Physically Thomas has the limitations of his own decaying body (limited sight, can no longer smell, mentions knee problems, etc) and how it must look to others.
There are the obvious emotions regarding the family history, the mother and her three children and between the siblings.
Morally, even if necromancy and death insurance are normal in this world, the siblings still didn't care and found a way to grab all money and properties for them. Since they know the will, it's obvious the animosity against Thomas is the legacy, not his zombie condition, because as much as they point at it to make it clear it's that, they have no problems in giving him their own mother's eyes so he can just leave them alone with everything.

Something Confusing:---

Addendum:I had no trouble wondering why the mother didn't change the will. Maybe she simply didn't know it would apply to Thomas in reanimated state.
And more importantly, what mother would think that their own children would fight among themselves for money and property, using lawyers to hunt for any little technicality to leave their own brother with nothing?

Hope this critique was useful to you!
« Last Edit: December 10, 2016, 11:09:20 PM by Lanko »
Slow and steady wins the race.

Lanko's Year in Books 2019

Offline TOMunro

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #112 on: December 10, 2016, 11:12:55 PM »
@Lanko thanks very much for the feedback.

I wrote the story and sent it on and then read the detailed discussion thread - including the bit that was saying it shouldn't be a zombie story - so I was a little bit worried about the theme appropriateness in that context.  But it did have the mother's corpse in it and @Anonymous was kind enough to say that was going to make it ok when I asked - so I left it in (and was glad that I did)

Congratulations also on doing so many critiques and to such a helpful template - an impressive workrate!

Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #113 on: December 11, 2016, 12:59:24 AM »
1,300 words in, all pure, distilled depression, looks like I'm really going to go for a happy ending. 2016, year of wonders!  :D
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Lanko

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #114 on: December 11, 2016, 01:07:22 AM »
1,300 words in, all pure, distilled depression, looks like I'm really going to go for a happy ending. 2016, year of wonders!  :D

Hm, wrong thread?  ::)
Slow and steady wins the race.

Lanko's Year in Books 2019

Offline Crystallynnfairy

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #115 on: December 11, 2016, 01:25:36 AM »
@Lanko Thank you for the feedback. Happy to get one of your critiques.  I like the way you set them up.
If I write more to the story the Grandmother will have been killed but in a way that everyone believes to be natural.
The scent difference was just usual death changes.
 :)

Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #116 on: December 11, 2016, 04:05:26 AM »
1,300 words in, all pure, distilled depression, looks like I'm really going to go for a happy ending. 2016, year of wonders!  :D

Hm, wrong thread?  ::)

Indeed!
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #117 on: December 11, 2016, 12:32:37 PM »

Special Announcement!

Nora wrote Blink. Nora would love critics for Blink.


HOW COULD YOU TELL THEM OUR SECRET?????  Blink was awesome btw.
Speaking of secrets, I still don't know who it was that guessed my story correctly and it's DRIVING ME CRAZY.  I think I need Sherlanko's sleuthing skills... or your detective from Blink...

Soul Speaker by Bradley Darewood
This was one of my top voted stories. My only critique is that the boy talked older than his age. Though the part about him being proud of his ability to not need the bodies helped, it is a kid bragging.
I would very muck like to read more in this world.

The Soulspeaker, by @Bradley Darewood

... He only conforms at the end “you won’t be the last”, but before that he even speaks and asks about Aaris (and others) as a way to justify the poison, so not even killing in his own self defense was justifiable for him. The assassin could’ve lied and said he didn’t find the Soulspeaker and other difficulties, but the boy didn’t have that choice and still weighed the choice much more. Pretty damn good part.

Thanks @Lanko and thanks @Crystallynnfairy !!! that's very kind of you to say. I want to recycle Dowen for a part in a not-yet-written (maybe never written) sequel to the novel I'm currently working on (like Book 7 when I'm still revising Book 1).  I want to pit him against the main antagonist in Book 1.

I was really interested in exploring how hearing the voices of the dead would influence a child's mind, even turn him into a killer.  I want to write a scene where his brother is killed and his brother comes to guide him to the series antagonist to try to kill her for vengeance.  So in Dowen's POV you kind of hear the voices of various dead people competing to manipulate him to do one thing or the other.  I haven't gotten anywhere near that part in the series yet, but it's just a thought of something I want to write.

Thanks for the tips Lanko-- Just to clarify some of the confusing parts:

Something Confusing: You gave us some confusing - or downright contradictory - information in some parts. Sometimes I thought “Wait, but previously you said X”.

Quote
The Nightravens sang for the dead, it was said. It had taken him months to discover the price of admission. His fellow Southlanders kept their secrets carefully.

Quote
”He told me the Queen ordered you to bar the doors of the Bearwynd House and burn it to the ground. The dead cried out to him (Aaris), and the next night you sliced him apart in his sleep. He just wants to know —”

This kept me wondering that if he killed the previous Soulspeaker, he would know the secrets and already be in the hidden “inner circle” of the Soulspeakers. Specially since it took eighteen years to kill Aaris (although only one day after an arson), and it was done by him. If he already was inside (took only months to find Dowen, after all), I kept thinking he wouldn’t need another price of admission.

So I had a very hard time cutting this story down to the word limit.  I was hoping I could get away with leaving things out b/c the details were a bit unwieldy to cram in to such as short space.

So there isn't an "inner circle" of Soulspeakers, there's only one alive at a time.  They advised the ruling clan when the people of the Southern Reaches lived as tribes, but I'm trying to capture that transition into feudalism.  The ruling Queen isn't a member of the previous ruling clan and for whatever reason finally found it expedient to destroy their entire line.  She wanted it to appear as an accident.  The Soulspeaker (Aaris at the time) would invariably be at the funeral and invariably visit the charred house, as the town is small and as Soulspeaker he's close to the clan.  She couldn't have him revealing the murder so she had Aaris killed (that's the reason for the timing of his death), though the Queen didn't understand that a new Soulspeaker would be born immediately after.  At the time, Aaris operated in the open.  But given that Aaris was murdered (and the Soulspeaker before him) when Dowen was born his grandmother insisted that they keep his gifts a secret.  She sheltered him from the other kids, and revealed his gifts only to those she trusted. She told them that if anyone they knew to be trustworthy needed the services of the Soulspeaker, to come to her house bearing the feather of a Nightraven, and she would then confer with Dowen in private, masquerading as the Soulspeaker herself to the very end.  So the feather was a tradition she instituted, and the secrecy was a direct result of the previous assassinations.

Re: the other stuff-- useful critiques.  They definitely help me improve my writing.

and last but not least:

Theme Appropriateness: Low.
Surprising? First, the reason the assassin is sent is because his target is able to speak to… spirits. Second, he doesn’t even need bodies. Third, apparently even Aaris didn’t (I will talk about that later). But a corpse did allow him to approach the Soulspeaker, but there are still questions about this.

DID YOU SEE THAT @The Gem Cutter ???? DID YOU???  Just checking :)
« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 12:48:36 PM by Bradley Darewood »

Offline Lanko

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #118 on: December 11, 2016, 05:28:51 PM »
I was surprised I was the only one who entered Nora for Blink in the guessing table.

First person present tense (Did no one noticed that?). At then there were plenty of other leads like Danish names (and she's been talking about learning Danish and moving to Denmark for some time in various threads). Detective searching for serial killer and getting a mental breakdown (Hannibal raving), etc. And the style that just had her prints everywhere.

@Bradley Darewood , I see, that makes sense. The word count worked against you. The reason I thought there was an inner circle (besides the Nightravens) was in the beginning when you mention "no place for superstition" for the Queen and that Merrick hated going south (which implied it's a conquered province or something). Then the Soulspeaker would be someone the south could rally to.

And then there was the Soulspeaker who was hanged and dumped into the river, which also led me to believe the killing of Soulspeakers was systematic (since we don't know the reasons he was hanged).
If there was a crime, it would make sense Aaris operated in the open (BUT be careful with this, you mention in the beginning "Soulspeakers are folkstories and whispers"! Aaris operating in the open wouldn't create that effect, hence why I thought he operated hidden as well  - for a decade, if he started as early as Dowen. I thought he came out of hiding because of the fire, and since you mentioned the target was a girl, it could be his lover and then he had a mental breakdown and that's how he was caught).
You do have an excellent backstory there. If you are planning on using, definitely expand it.
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #119 on: December 11, 2016, 06:31:37 PM »
DID YOU SEE THAT @The Gem Cutter ???? DID YOU???  Just checking :)
I did. And since you bring it up, I apologize for my unreasonable outbursts. And as I tried to communicate, my issue was not so much a petty inability to receive criticism as it was an episode of  emotional instability caused by other things and manifested here to my lasting embarrassment. Now let me be, Bradley.
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"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell