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Author Topic: By Light of the Night (Revision)  (Read 1882 times)
« on: February 15, 2010, 11:51:05 PM »

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Dragyn
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This is a rewrite of an older piece, which can be seen Here.

The first one was 14,000 words.  I fully expect the new one to both be longer, and actually tell the whole story I set out to tell.  Several people seemed to think I was planning a sequel:  Not exactly the case, there was just supposed to be more to this one.  

Please give me honest reviews, advice, and suggestions.  Please don't just say "it sucks." and leave.

So, without further delay:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
« Last Edit: February 20, 2010, 12:32:25 AM by Dragyn » Logged
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2010, 10:08:22 AM »

That one dusty marsfox.
"Anything can be solved if you'll try hard enough."
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Tvorsk
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Well, it was an interesting start of the story, and comparing it with the first part of the original, which I had never read before, shows some small but quite influential changes.

I'm going to try reading them both in parallel as you'll release the updated episodes.
For now, I can only say that I like it very much, which, well, isn't a very good commentary because it fails to point out WHAT and WHY I liked... but I don't know the answer to these questions.
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Thanks for reading,
-- Tvorsk

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Draykin: And blast it, what is the world coming to when one cannot find a decent metal remix/cover of the Imperial March?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2010, 10:57:34 AM »

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Lopez
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Hmmm...I feel like I've read this before...

This is a very nice chunk of story. I'm not going to read through your previous version again, and I'm not even going to look at MY old review. I'll just try commenting on how I feel about it NOW.

I love the main character. My love for him can be summed up in this line.

Quote
I was sorta' trying to fix the lighthouse, here.  It's kinda--"

"It does not function."

He's not fixing the lighthouse. He's not even TRYING to fix the lighthouse. He's SORTA' TRYING TO FIX the lighthouse. He can't even state what's wrong with it. He instead says, "It's kinda..."

Then you have the demon, Gear, who just states it like it is. There's no middle ground of "Kinda" or "Maybe" or "Perhaps." It IS what it IS.

Then, you have their FUNCTIONS. Again, Shei tries to avoid being anything, so he would rather state that he's everything to dodge the question.

Quote
"But...but I'm not a summoner!  I'm a gambler, an artist, a mechanic, a fencer, a…" The caster stumbled for more words that weren’t summoner.

He's looking for excuses to avoid BEING something, at all costs.

Then, you've got Gear saying...

Quote
“You may call me Gear.  Gear will do nicely.”

He knows EXACTLY who he is. But is he perfect?

Quote
Deciding his plan was not yet perfect, Gear picked up a piece of chalk, perfect and whole

No, of course not. Happy Arctic Fox

This is what makes these two characters interesting. You've got Shei, who wants to fade away, practically into the world, and Gear, who wants everything perfect (and for the most part can make it so.)

((See: Daoist vs. Confucian))

Who is more right? The demon who can't quite make everything perfect, or the Cat who can't quite become nothing at all? We shall see. Arctic Wink
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...but that's just my opinion, so don't let it bother you too much!
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2010, 11:59:36 AM »

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Dragyn
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Wow, Lopez.  That's...actually pretty close to what I was going for, character wise.

Glad to know that the characters are more solidified than they used to be.
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2010, 01:13:57 AM »

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Dragyn
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Part 2 is up, now. 

I cut a large piece out that was in the old one, since I felt it was unnecessary, and slowed things down.  Hopefully it's an improvement.
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2010, 08:41:17 AM »

That one dusty marsfox.
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Tvorsk
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I like the new verion better than the previous one (and I'm pretty sure you do too, as otherwise you wouldn't write it Red Fox Wink)... Interesting change of the way Shei meets the gnome here. Fair chance it'll significantly change the tone of following conversation. *grins*

Not really sure about the removed part... it gave a little bit of insight into the feline's thoughts, and if you'll refer to the happenings in the future (Hey, I'm not going to read the "old version" till the end, that'd kill many of the surprises), you might have to change that area to mention what isn't said here anymore.


* Tvorsk applauds.
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Thanks for reading,
-- Tvorsk

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Draykin: And blast it, what is the world coming to when one cannot find a decent metal remix/cover of the Imperial March?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2010, 06:18:24 PM »

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Dragyn
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Actually, I won't.  That's a significant part of why it got cut out.

I probably won't keeping to a strict this-bit-happens-in-this-part thing from here on out, so a direct comparison of the two versions may turn out to be impossible.

And if I do feel something that was formerly in there needs to be said, I can think of some better places to put it back.
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2010, 05:10:23 PM »

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Lopez
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I've been trying for a while to think about how I feel about this part (2).

What I WILL say is, whatever you did with it, it is more interesting. (This was the part in the previous version where my attention was lost)

Hmmmm...the problem I have with this story most likely lies with the main character.

In the first part, we had this indifferent little cat who would probably like nothing better than if everyone ignored him. And, I mean...

Quote
Shei Nayrikk had no interest in travelling.

Now this is just blatantly obvious. Arctic Wink

But something happens to him. He becomes curious. But not curious in everything, but in one thing. He is now interested in finding out why the spell failed, why he summoned a demon. Why this is all happening.

The problem is, it is not his character. After reading the first part, I have this image of a character who is NOT particularly curious, but rather forced forward in life by necessity. (The Townspeople made him fix the lighthouse.)

So while he is more adventurous now...he still isn't. He's still the same timid character we know from the first part.

Quote
“Um…could I get some food?”

And what's up with this?

Quote
He’d already been to every supposed magician, arcanist, and wizard who touted his wares and skills, and all had either proven to be fake, or had no more idea than he had.

So here is why I'm...um...losing interest in him.  Sad Arctic Fox It seems that his character is inconsistent. He's not interested in anything BUT this. Moving forward...

Quote
Shei swallowed nervously.  He could see several black clothed figures trying to hide in the shadows of the alley.  “I don’t think I have anything you’d find valuable.”

Further...

Quote
“Then take it!”  Shei sprung backwards over the thief’s head as he drew the red blade from the sheath.

Hmmm...on the surface it WOULD seem to work, because his self-confidence seems forced by necessity. He's only self-confident when he NEEDS to be.

Annnnnd at that point, the writer can just use Shei for whatever needs to be done to advance the story. He's self-confident when he's fighting enemies and needs to win to show off his strength, and he's curious when he needs to investigate something that will push the story along.

If my analysis of the first part was correct, then my advice would be this: let the character do the talking for you. Right now, he feels like he's just a piece of a puzzle that you're creating. Rather than being free-flowing, he fits in one place in the story. (I think that analogy went a bit too far. Surprised Arctic Fox)

Quote
“Impressive work, Lad.  Nice demon blade ye’ve got, there.”

Shei turned to face the source of the voice.

And...this introduction feels like another piece of the puzzle. Now, the finished puzzle might be very interesting, but putting it together like this feels...forced (Ugh...I need to ditch this analogy.)

In conclusion, I know that you have this master plan that you're working to achieve. The demon, the gnome, the cat, it will all fit together. Actually, you might even have a flow-chart of all the encounters between characters that will happen as the story reaches its climax. I would recommend that you just ignore it.

I had this exact same problem writing the story "Orders" (buried somewhere on the archives here.) This story can't work until you do what's natural for the character. I had these great schemes of what the ending of "Orders" would be, but I ended up going in a completely different direction, just because I figured out "Wait a minute, my character would NEVER do that!" You may not end up PRECISELY where you intended, but you might at least get the general direction.

So, I really love your character, but he's starting to feel more like a tool to be used rather than a cat with his own fears, hopes, and emotions.

I hope I didn't cause any emotional scars. Sad Arctic Fox Keep working on the next one! I'm still rooting for you! Happy Arctic Fox

((For an alternative; you could make the story "Simenonian." We had this project in school, we had to write like this writer. He was famous for writing characters who would COMPLETELY turn around after the first chapter. I can see elements of that her, as Shei gets some confidence and curiosity. But because it is not a complete shift, it doesn't quite work out. Unless you portray Shei as the epitome of self-confidence and ability, it would be hard to pull off.))
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...but that's just my opinion, so don't let it bother you too much!
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2010, 08:01:15 PM »

That one dusty marsfox.
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Tvorsk
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You know, Lopez, while literature has archetypes, authors don't actually have to follow them.
I think everyone knows some people bursting with openness, bravery, and self-assuredness UNTIL some trigger turns them into scared "Iwannadisappearleavemeplease" shadows.

And, believe me or not, but it works similarly in the other way round too. I, personally, most of the time are a bit like your described impression of Shei at the beginning. What I want is to be left alone, as I feel safe then. I'm afraid when someone on the street looks at me. But when I get my mind fixed on some goal I don't care about (or more precisely don't notice) risks, attack openly everyone that's on my way, and so on... until sudden realization comes, sword falls out of hand, and I'm both scared and surprised at what happened.

...well, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that such behavior shifts might actually BE a (major) part of our protagonist's personality. I don't know that. But you don't know that it's not neither.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2010, 08:03:58 PM by Tvorsk » Logged

Thanks for reading,
-- Tvorsk

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Draykin: And blast it, what is the world coming to when one cannot find a decent metal remix/cover of the Imperial March?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2010, 08:33:46 PM »

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Dragyn
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Hmm...being the author in question, I'm almost certainly biased, but I'm pretty sure Shei is acting as Shei would act in this, influenced as he has been.

However, I will, for now at least, wait and let you all decide for yourselves based on subsequent parts and events.

Edit, since I don't feel like making a new post:

Part 3 is up.  It is fairly short.

Edit again:

Part 4 is also up, now.  Perhaps some questions will be answered.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2010, 10:37:41 PM by Dragyn » Logged
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2010, 02:37:35 AM »

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Fayth
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I haven't said much here, yet, so be prepared for a dump of thoughts and text... XD


Remembering how the first version went, I can see how this would happen as it did.
Heh.
He was kinda brought gradually, by circumstance and need, to be what he simply has/ought to be.
There were personality jumps all along the way, through the last version, leading in one direction. It's good. But I can also see how some might be lost, along the way. It made sense to me, for the most part, until the end, in the last version. That was the biggest jump and a lack of understanding left something of a gap.

This situation I can understand, here. Especially with the fourth part up. But one might give a slight reference to Shei's reasoning while he's using it. Even if it's indirect.. like pointing out how Shei noted everyone's lack of answers or maybe a character he asked behaving in a bizarre manner or giving a strange look and him wondering to himself why that may be, thinking, one way or another, something like "Well, I didn't mention demons and wouldn't do any of the things that they might be suspicious of." That could set up a direct answer, too, like adding to his train of thought that he just wanted to prevent another accidental summoning. That could explain his seemingly somewhat out-of-place curiosity, when it first seems out-of-place.

Also, you do say that he didn't want to travel. It implies he doesn't want to go about doing things like that which he is doing. Maybe put a tie in there. After you say the part of his lack of interest in travel and get to the point that he decides to leave his room, maybe add a trailing thought saying that he might have to go running about outside, after all, despite his preference to not. You could also answer the future questions about his curiosity by explaining the cause for his leave, in advance. Though I kinda like not knowing, right at first, as that information is not needed yet. You have to mix it correctly, though.
Else someone could be confused, before they reach the fourth part. That might make it difficult for them to enjoy the story until that point.  

Yeah...
Readers are many things. Some of those things include lazy and impatient. :P

They want a book that tells them the reasons for things and connects events for them when they happen (unless it's crucial to the plot or an effect that they not know why (in which case they tend to prefer it that the writer indicates that is the reason for their not knowing by making it a minor/major focus or makes enough of a cover so that the reader may not even know that they aren't fully informed or so that the reader understands that no one else in the book understands it, yet).
They don't enjoy it when they see something that doesn't have a clear reason or connection, unless it's supposed to be something of a mystery. And they don't like to have to guess too much if it's something they don't feel they should have to guess at. They want to know why, or at least that they should simply not know the reasons.
They want this, whether or not the characters know or acknowledge it themselves.
(Lazy!!! Cheesy )

They don't want to have to guess at things, unless they know that they are supposed to be guessing.
If they're guessing unecessarily, that could leave all sorts of possibilities they don't really want to deal with.

What if they're wrong, and they're not actually supposed to have guessing wrong be an option?
Something could happen later on that would make sense, if they had guessed right... but with the wrong guess it would not make sense and perhaps not be explained enough the second time to make sense later.
Or what if it was something they were simply supposed to figure out, even if it's not referenced later? They have no second chance to try to figure it out.
These thoughts will have them wondering throughout the whole story, "What was that... was I right about that?"
At least until it is brought up again. Until that point, though, they will be wondering. And, if they were wrong, they may continue to wonder. It's distracting to one who just wants to enjoy the story.

They don't tend to like it, if they are left wondering by themselves and they don't know why. They would prefer to know, on the spot, or at least know that they aren't the only ones who don't know and/or that they might find out later.
(Impatient!!! Cheesy )

Sorry, that's a lot of rambling. :P
If you checked my notes for the last version of this story, you might see that I will definitely be doing that... XD


I am really liking this version of the story, much more. Cheesy

You were saying something about your uncertainty of how to involve Elimar? It would seem that you found a solution, which I am glad to hear. I liked that character... XD

The word choice has obviously improved. Not as many exact repetitive words... and there are some great phrases that weren't there, before. :)
 So has the plot improved, so far. It's better explained and pieced together. Also, it's more interesting. :)
I would guess that the first version served more as a rough draft... and this is coming out quite a bit better!
I'm looking forward to seeing how it comes out. Azn
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2010, 07:23:16 AM »

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Lopez
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Looks like we have an analyzer who's a bit more fluent than I am!  Arctic Wink

Quote
If they're guessing unecessarily, that could leave all sorts of possibilities they don't really want to deal with.

Actually, this feels like my LIFE. (Of course, it also sounds a lot like "Lost")

All good observations, Fayth. Reasons for characters acting how they do is a good thing. I would have loved to say that Shei was looking for answers because he was too afraid to cast another spell lest he summoned another demon.

I like this next part, Shei feels much more natural. Although, we're still in the dark about why Elimar wants to associate with him in the first place. And, airship? I suppose it'll come in the next part.
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...but that's just my opinion, so don't let it bother you too much!
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2010, 12:32:03 AM »

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Dragyn
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Part 5 is now up.

Not much to say on this one, at the moment.
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