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Messages - Nora

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Since Goodreads includes the mangas I read, I'm setting a goal of 200 and hope to struggle more than last year. Last year I cruised by my 100 mark because I was a lot more thorough reporting what I'd read.

Ah well if we don't have to steal someones's world and can twist popular character of fairytales that's a different deal. I can definitely give a shot to my boy Cinder.

Oh no! I thought it would be a reversion of gender roles or even body swapping, but it's low key fanfic again xD
Not sure I'll participate, I really can't get my mojo on to write in someone else's world, sorry.

Introductions / Re: Hey!
« on: February 01, 2019, 08:22:49 AM »
Met in Warframe and now happily farming away on both our Stardew Valley houses.  :P

Introductions / Re: Hey!
« on: January 19, 2019, 03:01:32 AM »
Welcome Limey!
Glad you're taking the jump. We'll have you write something in no time!

Here to give my

Guy is legit. He helps me a lot when we play online too and will zoom past me and then say I'm such a good player. Knows how to word a compliment  :P
Surely can make up just as compelling stories. Curious to chat more about books too.

No it's ok. I don't need a brainstorm, I don't necessarily struggle with coming up with ideas, I struggle with getting the motivation to bother writing them.

Sadly not an accurate depiction of my feelings regarding writing at the moment, and no inspiration regarding air so far, but it's nice to live parallel lives that seem this comfy.

[JAN 2019] Air / Re: [Jan 2019] - AIR - Discussion Thread
« on: January 02, 2019, 01:15:09 AM »
I won water, and I don't think I was around for fire, so I feel some self inflicted pressure to make this a good one...

I'm sorry but I got quite depressed, so I haven't written my story down enough to make this viable. It was a pretty twisted story though, so no loss I guess.

[NOV 2018] Image Prompt: Ships / Re: [Nov 2018] - Ships - Voting Thread
« on: January 02, 2019, 01:12:03 AM »
And I strike again, voting for the top runners!

Thanks @Carter for your vote. I also voted for you, but when I said was story was great but left me utterly confused, it's you I meant!
Is the MC a deep forest agent? Did she remotely doom the ships? Or is the goal for the forest to follow the humans? Or is she actually good and I totally misunderstood her actions? Please tell me!!

Alex, I loved the twist ending. Not surprising per say, but very satisfying and visually pleasing, in my mind's eye.

I work in book retail. My month has been mental. I literally had 2 days off for Xmas and I spent them relaxing. I have a story in mind, but I'm working late shifts now right up until my next day's off 31st and 1st.... so if we stay open the 1st, and I'm able to write a story in two days.... it'll be hard.
It's just the long hours of nonstop running around and talking to people after people. It sucked the motivation to do anything out of me.

[OCT 2018] Small Magics / Re: Small magics - Critique Thread
« on: December 21, 2018, 11:59:25 AM »

Christmas is a fucking nightmare atm. My shop goes from doing a normally busy day of 20k sales to a busy day of 80k sales, so I've been an automated puppet all month, and a soulless zombie each evening, making me keep away from reviews. Today I am off and I am dealing with all the stuff I should not have delayed.


Here's for you @Jake Baelish :

You're gonna hate me, because I really enjoyed your story. I loved the idea, though behind a beer I'd argue that your magic isn't a small one. It was well written too, better than most. The only reason I ended up withdrawing my vote was that you came shoulder to shoulder with other stories, less masterfull but that had in my eyes a more agreeable story.
Hear me out : I was kinda flabbergasted by the choice of the young man. I thought it was horrible, in the same sense that in the theatre, I found that Rose saving Fynn from sacrificing himself was horrible. Then upon reflection, I saw that his sacrifice was pointless, and so him being saved was good, thought I still didn't appreciate the way it came about.
I still kind of feel the same way with your story. The gran REALLY wants to save people. The boy is being incredibly selfish by wilfully killing a stranger his Gran wishes to save.

But then, I'm Nora, right? The one who wrote a pseudo-rape-referential red riding hood story where the wolf is little's red's dad turning into a monster and eating people, as my 2nd submission to the contest! I'm the one who wrote about dog eating fairies, and I'm in Jmack's quote too...
So why would I disagree of your ending?

I feel like the problem in my eyes comes from the love they just exude to each other in the end. A more satisfactory ending following the same idea, in my eyes, would have been a focused pov on the man baking a second bread, and then standing there in front of the adviser, who looks grateful and hopeful, and making the choice, in this man's face, to hand him the wrong loaf. You could even make it entirely unclear which he gave out. "I gave him the bread" kind of sentence.
Then you'd cut to him looking down on his Gran, admiring her strength and her dedication, feeding her bits of bread throughout the night, and him smiling, as she slowly regains her strength. Ending on something chilling ("I simply can't let her go like that" - and I know she'll despise me when she wakes up and realises what I've done) or sad (speaking to sleeping grandma, as her colours return, "I know I've done the wrong thing, I know I've chosen selfishly, I wonder if you'll forgive me?" - bells toll, and grandma wakes at the sound of them, looking back up in his face -end).
I think an open ending, as to whether the gran would forgive him or damn him for abusing her magic and her confidence, would have been better. The fact that she seems to instantly forgive him and smile in the wake of a little girl's death left me feeling like the bleakness of it was not intentional.

Though I could be entirely wrong about it, and you may have wanted to go really bleak, it came across like you wanted to make this a close and lovely story of love and kinship.

So my issue with you is entirely with the tone or your ending, and nothing else. It's not even a bad story, it just left me surprised and thinking how to better it, and what did you mean exactly, etc. So that was a drawback that pulled you to second vote, and then enough good story emerged that I had too many second votes and decided to give none.

The bright side is, this was still a winning material story, and obviously others thought so too, so here we are. Votes reflect personal taste, so you're bound to have the odd person like me not feeling it. Hope it doesn't make it sound too harsh though.

@JMack :

I'm kind of ashamed to say I felt the same about your story. Well written as usual, but it was a plot issue that held me back. In you case, the one that held me back and made the story feel flatter, was my lack of understanding of what the magics were, or looked like.
I was first confused by the kids crying and rushing their mom. They seem seriously clueless and very young, since they won't seat still and it never occurred to them that everyone has a Da, including their mom. So why would they cry? I would only picture them being puzzled.
We don't see them receiving their magic, and the following time jump of their mother dying as very unclear, leaving me only more confused.
The fact that the magics could be buried was interesting, but another confusing element. Since I had no way of knowing what the magics were, looked like, or how they worked (like, maybe they're highly personal? It never occurred to me they could be stolen, but I might have guessed so if I'd known they were physical objects), the reveal of the brother stealing them and returning it felt a bit gimmicky. The whole time I thought, 'well, no matter how the dad died, it brought some seriously happy consequences and he was a prick'. Aullie doesn't seem to be suffering from that much remorse. You do mention a weight lifting off of him, but if his remorse is what made him work his ass until the farm looks fantastic and he can give comfort to his wife despite the lack of children they crave, then imo 100% worth it...

Anyway, I felt like the whole story was full of great ideas, used to little emotional impact. Some suggestions might be :

- Let us know the magics are physical things that can be handled and stolen.
- Make the mom's choices starker. As it is she's speaking in riddles and doesn't make her use of her magic sound like something bad or silly, but like a weird mystery, like she's embarrassed to come clean. Making her a once-dumb-girl who judged a man on his looks and not his character and ended up stranded with a violent husband would be more potent.

- What if Aullie knew his brother stole his magic bead? But thought it had been used anyway? by him or by his brother? When he returns, he'd have more than simple estrangement to be prickly about, and it would come as a big surprise if Padden had actually saved his magic, and returned it, or never used his after that, and is offering to wish a thing for his brother as a reparation.

- If I was rewriting this, the way you did mine, I'd make Padden unbury both beads, and confront his brother. They fight, the father comes around and menaces them. Extremely weary and disheartened Aullie wishes really hard his dad would just fucking die. One bead in one of Padden's hands explodes and dad dies almost on the spot. Both brothers stare in horror, and Padden bolts with remaining bead and is not seen again.
Aullie plagued by doubt and some remorse, but wants his bro back. When padden returns, it's a wish come true in its own way, even if it reopens old wounds. Then Padden comes clean : It was his bead that burst, his wish of death that was heard (maybe you need to hold it yourself to work?) and he left in dread and shame, feeling like a murderer, and later like he abandoned his brother.
Came back to make penance and return his brother's bead back, so the bro can have his kids.
I'm a bit on the fence about the values of having the wife once pinning on the brother. It adds a lick of flavour to her but really just hints at possible future complications which feels unnecessary.

Still think your final line is great.
So yes, the plot and characters felt a bit flat and their motivation was questionable, despite the fairytale idea being good, and the writing being up to your usual standard, so I couldn't pick you above Jake, for example. T_T
Of course I can't repaint your story, it's rude, but I guess it's the best way to carry my point across too.

@ryanmcgowan :

In the case of your story, my first problem was the formatting, which really put me off. My instinct when I see such great slabs of text is to not read at all, and I usually keep such stories for last. It was a shame because you have a nice, pretty poetical prose, though at times your vocabulary choices made it look like it needed more editing, like when the same character is "surprised" twice in a row, and both use of surprise appear on top of each other in the text.
Another thing that felt a bit odd was how the father and mother never seemed to stop believing that the MC is delivering Death magic, even as she helps the daughter. I felt their lack of progress or change was a bit off. Why keep the MC in their home if they this obviously don't believe her? "A smile even touched the girls lips, another small magic." That was a great line though.
The idea of your magic was really good too.

[NOV 2018] Image Prompt: Ships / Re: [Nov 2018] - Ships - Voting Thread
« on: December 21, 2018, 10:46:43 AM »
Finally voted. I read everyone a while back, and left it to simmer, coming back now to see which one stand back in my mind. I'm actually voting for one whose ending is completely unclear, and I can't tell if the MC is good or bad or what, but the idea had too much charm for it to be detrimental.

I'm a bit of a prickly reader for boat stories, as I was a rabid fan of the Aubrey and Maturin series as a teen, and The Terror is on my top 5 books of all time list. I'm used to excellent naval stories, so I have a bit of an overly critical eye with them, which also completely keeps me from even trying to write a story from the pov of a normal ship. Hence why I went the land-lubbers way and picked the wreck as my image. A ship without sailing  ;D

It was very fun to see so many picking the same image and coming out with completely different ideas.  :D
I like months with pictures, when they offer enough choice, because I tend to browse pictures for inspiration anyway as I cook up stories.

[OCT 2018] Small Magics / Re: Small magics - Critique Thread
« on: December 16, 2018, 06:59:44 PM »
Sorry Jmack, the weekend hit me like a 20 ton truck. I was exhausted on Saturday, and crippled further by a bout of insomnia brought on by the coffees I drank to stay awake, like a total dolt.

Anyway, I'm barely alive rn, so I'll do a quick answer to your review, but keep my own critics for tomorrow, after when I've had 12h of sleep. T_T

Possibility: Turn the stakeout into something that matters. For example, he’s sketching the Artist’s latest foray in his notebook, revealing the difference between normal sight and magical sight. (If you want, put a normal human partner with him to argue about what is seen.) End with him noticing that she’s inserted a message to him. In fact, it’s so fresh and recent, he knows she must be watching, but he’s a total failure seeing her; he gets lost in her work, instead.

That's a fantastic solution and gave me one of those "oh shit" moments, when you see the solution to a problem that seemed stuck.
I don't agree with any instances of the Artist being around, because it entirely defeats the point of leaving messages painted on walls. Same with the magic idea at the end: though it's a lovely idea, it means the Artist anticipated him, not that she's come by, seen his work, and replied. It also must mean something that he leaves the spot alone, and doesn't stalk it.
But yes, the idea of him and his partner discussing outside, and seeing the art instead of referring to it, is excellent.

> Problem/Possibility: Back to the partner, turn this into conflict. You say he’s a cold shoulder to cry on, but he immediately offers a donut and patiently walks through the case with our hero. Instead, make him a jerk who would like nothing better than for Iain to fall the rest of the way from his formerly high perch. The realization that Iain should take another road can come more as something Tom didn’t know he was saying, but Iain makes a connection.

On this I disagree. He's meant to not pity Iain, but he's not meant to be disparaging. He also doesn't need a life or agency... I'm surprised you even mention this. He's such a minor character, I never try to give life or agency to side characters. In a 1500 short story, they're all only ever around to paint in decor or add flavour or enable the hero/story.
But that doesn't excuse how weak the partner character was, and a scene where the two of them discuss actively in front of a painting would have been infinitely better.
It almost makes me want to re-write it!

So no, don't worry, I'm not bothered that you gave stark examples, because even if I wouldn't follow them entirely (or it'd be a jmack story), most of your suggestions open clear and very good avenues. It makes my mistakes painfully clear.
I knew the story was clunky, and you've helped me pinpoint exactly why!

Now I'll pay you back with a review tomorrow!!!

[OCT 2018] Small Magics / Re: Small magics - Critique Thread
« on: December 12, 2018, 02:48:23 AM »
Keen for critics as always, but won't be able to retaliate until Friday when I have the day off! I'll take an hour to do the rounds of people who've logged interest by then.

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