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  1. #1
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    A Stone of Contention - Comments Thread

    Hello! This is the comments thread for the story "A Stone of Contention," the first part of which I've just posted. I would ask anyone that has comments about the story to please make them here instead of the main thread.

    This is the first time I have started a comments thread for one of my stories. So, why this time? Well, this story is intended to be a series of short parts. I hope to write one once a week for some time, and thus a single thread, assuming there were some comments, could get quite messy over time.

    Another reason is that I feel this story needs a bit of a comment from me right at the start. This is not based on Diablo II, but on another computer game called Last Chaos. While some of it may seem familiar, it's an entirely different world, so I just wanted to make that clear.

    Maybe you're thinking that I should be able to make that clear in the writing itself. I would agree except for the fact that this is a D2 forum, and as such anything posted here inherits that context. As I discovered after posting my poem about pumping gas, unless something is made very clear, people here are prone to imagine tiny supermen or other supernatural phenomenon before something plain and boring like a sparrow, which I think is entirely to be expected. I suspect that the same could happen here, since LC and D2 share some common aspects.

    Anyway, thanks for reading (if you do) and as always:

    Comments welcomed!




  2. #2
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    Hrm... I guess I'll allow it. But you'd better update once a week! And get lots of commenty readers! Or else... stuff.

    Upon reading part one, I see what you mean about mistaken impressions. Aside from the place names - and given the huge gaps in official Blizzard geography, those could be considered an expansion on Sanctuary - it could be a D2 story. Sure sounds like one with the early description seeming to point towards a magic-finding character who'd just found a tradeworthy jewel/rune/facet or whatnot. I do hope he has a proper name aside from "Swaglord."

    Anyways, I'm interested so far. Love the idea of regularly scheduled bite-sized updates. The fight with the giant felt uninspired, like it's only there to set-up what comes next, but what came next was better, as was what came before.

    Er, how does a pony search corpses for loot?




  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    Hrm... I guess I'll allow it. But you'd better update once a week! And get lots of commenty readers! Or else... stuff.
    Sheesh, talk about a harsh task-master. I think I've got the weekly updates covered for a while, but the commenty readers assignment could be a handful. It's been a while, but I can see if my contacts in the underworld of international human slave trade are still good... Crikey, Snow! Why do you think I posted it here in the first place?


    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    I do hope he has a proper name aside from "Swaglord."
    LOL to the LMAO, oh one of blinding illumination. You know, it's funny... I usually spend a good deal of time picking a name when I start a new character. This one, which happens to be the name of my account's most-played character, was chosen almost as a rebellion against my usual indecisiveness--you might say I went with the first ridiculous name I could think of. And here I am sort of stuck with it. But what do you do when life gives you a bad name to work with? Make bad-name-ade, of course! In other words, I'm hoping to get some good mileage out of this real lemon of a name.


    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    The fight with the giant felt uninspired, like it's only there to set-up what comes next,
    Yeah. At some point I may take some time to explain what I am trying to do with this story. For now, I guess I'll just agree with you, but if you had played the game you might have recognized some "knight" skills in there.


    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    but what came next was better, as was what came before.
    Loving it. Who says fan fiction can't have its moments?


    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    Er, how does a pony search corpses for loot?
    I hit F5. Of course, other folks may have different hot key setups. ;-)


    Thanks for your comments!




  4. #4
    IncGamers Member RevenantsKnight's Avatar
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    Sorry about the delay in comments; these are on Part 1 only.

    * * *

    Interesting, I’d say...the action here was enough to keep me reading, even though this was somewhat unfamiliar. With that and the likable lead (and the pony.) you’ve got me wanting the next part, all right. I think you may have done a little too much telling in the narration, though; while it generally wasn’t a huge problem, there were a few points that seemed a bit awkward. Overall, though, this seemed pretty smooth to me. Some specific comments:

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    The rare mineral contained a magic that was the essential ingredient in all of the finest weapons and armor to be had anywhere in Eres.
    This felt a little too much like the narrator forcing in something the reader should know, in my opinion. Granted, Swaglord seems quite aware of this, but because this paragraph’s jaunt away from the story world felt a bit disruptive, my gut feeling was that it didn’t quite fit here. Also, this is probably all accurate, but it did seem a bit overdone on a first read. I mean, when you string together “rare,” “magic,” “essential” and “finest weapons and armor to be had anywhere” all in one sentence, it feels like overkill, even if it’s true.

    By the way, “Swaglord” didn’t seem horrifically bad to me or anything, but then I read this expecting this to have some of your usual humor, so some silliness seemed par for the course. If you’re trying to play this one completely straight and serious, then yeah, I’d start looking around for another name, but it doesn’t seem like you are to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    For this reason smiths prized it, and warriors of all sorts treasured it, battled for it, and would often pay quite handsomely for even the smallest piece.
    “For this reason” seems unnecessary to me, since the reader should be able to make the inference from the previous sentence. Then again, maybe I’m just being over-sensitive to possible bits of telling.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Thus, far more than any aspect of its pleasing appearance, it was the prospect of having more gold in his pouch—considerably more--that brought the dreamy smile to Swaglord’s face.
    Since you mention only one real aspect of the item’s “pleasing appearance,” “any aspect” felt a little awkward to me. Also, it’s a minor thing indeed, but the dashes around “considerably more” look odd when they’re of different styles.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    He turned his head just in time to see a highland giant coming towards him at a full run, its club held high over one shoulder.
    It’s not too bad so as to be unbelievable straight up, but him not hearing anything humanoid and in armor going at a full run is a little bit of a stretch.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    In fact, the club-wielding giant now stood directly between him and them, neatly stacked on the ground next where he had been sitting.
    Maybe it’s just me, but the ending phrase seems odd because it reads grammatically as if it refers to the giant. I mean, it’s clear in context, but in something like “The guards stood between him and the door, guns drawn,” the ending phrase describes the sentence’s subject (the guards.)

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    He knew he could probably evade most of the giant’s lumbering blows and eventually circle around to his weapons, but it was risky, especially if there were any more of its kind around that heard the commotion.
    I’d word “that heard” as “to hear,” but it may well be correct as it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    And before it could turn toward the unarmed knight and ready itself to deliver another blow, the small pony, barely knee-high to the tall highlander, took the initiative.
    “Knee-high to the tall highlander” felt like too much of high and its variants to me for one sentence. Also, while this does read well enough as it is, it seems a little like unnecessary summary to me, so I might cut “took the initiative,” combining it with the sentence starting the next paragraph. Of course, you could also keep it as it is, because that sense of summarization isn’t readily apparent.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    It did no injury to the giant, but it did knock it off-balance for another second, and more importantly, provided just the distraction that the knight needed.
    “It did no injury” sounded a bit too detached to me...I might see if you can’t get this across with something more visual.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Spinning once and then again to build up momentum in his heavy shield, he launched himself into the giant’s face and chest just as it turned towards him, stunning it and giving him and his pony the precious seconds they needed.
    Quite a jump for a guy in full armor, assuming that the giant’s more than seven feet tall. It also seems a bit redundant to say “giving him and his pony the precious seconds they needed,” since the reader should be able to infer that from “stunning” (it seems like it was longer than seconds, too.) At any rate, I smell a game skill. :grin:

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Then he stood back and slowly and methodically—in an almost business-like fashion—reequipped himself with both sword and shield, as was his fashion.
    I’d remove one use of “fashion” here.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    As the giant came to its senses, Swaglord laid on a series of precise and efficient blows, while staying carefully behind his shield.
    This read a bit dryly to me. Granted, I could see why you don’t want to take too long here, but even so, I’d think that you could write up a quick description that has a little more detail.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    An unfamiliar voice came from behind him, “Muy bien, hombre.”
    I think this should be two sentences, but that’s just me.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Before he knew what was happening he felt a gossamer web of silk twine fall over his head and close fast around him.
    There should be a comma after “happening,” I think.

    Anyway, it looks good so far, as mentioned, and I’ll try to get around to your latest post soon. Thanks for posting!




  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE View Post
    Swaglord did not have to wait long to find out who or what had attacked him. The face of a young woman soon appeared above him, followed immediately by a suitable neck and shoulders. They hovered over him for moment and then seemed to swoop down on him. He felt a sudden weight on his chest and realized she must be sitting on him.
    Nice start, but you forgot an 'a' in there. *points* I'm afraid finding an error in the third sentence threw me irrevocably into critique mode for the remainder of this entry.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    He was still feeling a little groggy from his sudden impact on the ground but he soon recognized her for what she was. The tight leather jerkin, the distinctive thin, war ribbons braided into her dark, short-cropped hair, the small tattoo dagger behind her ear-she was clearly a member of one of the many thieving guilds, collectively known as the rogues.
    Noooo! Not generic character class appearance. Please no! That's one of the things I hate most about D2 fanfic: that so few people take the opportunity to replace Blizzard's noncustomizable characters with unique looks. People often deride fanfic as a crutch to avoid creating new worlds, characters, etc., but it can also be an excuse to create new things with restrictions that were only present to begin with because they made sense in the context of the source material. In other words, D2 (and apparently Last Chaos) only has generic looks for each character class because it's easier to create one cool design for everyone than thousands. They're more iconic, too, which admittedly comes into play here, but you don't need a red cape and an S-shield for people to know you're a superhero. Wearing your underwear on the outside? Also optional.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    And there was something else he noticed as she stared down at him, the smirk on her lips, the smile that was almost laughter dancing about her eyes, she was looking particularly pleased with herself.
    Maybe it's just me, but this feels too long for one sentence. Commas are tricky, though. I don't fully understand them.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    It was bad enough that he had let himself and his pony be captured so easily
    Heh. He sure likes that pony. Wonder what the story is there...

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    The rogue's smirk quickly grew into a wide smile and then she threw her head back and laughed. As she did so her hair flew up allowing the dulcet rays of the waning sun to fall across her elegant cheek bones and slender neck.
    You totally just wanted to use "dulcet" in a sentence. Not that that's so bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    Despite his temper, Swaglord could not help thinking that under other circumstances he might not mind having one with such a pretty face as this sitting on his chest and smiling wickedly at him.
    Needs more sexual tension. Or not, but I was disappointed in how little the whole chest-sitting scene moved me. There's high cuteness potential there, but on first read I didn't feel it.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    She leaned toward him until Swaglord could feel her spicy breath on his chin.
    Spicy breath! My only weakness! Heh, I liked this line.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    "Really? she said, slapping him on each side of his face, a little harder now time.
    I think that should be this time. Or each time, whichever you had intended.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    "you are in know position to bargain."
    Yeah... um, with the... you see it, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    "You wouldn't dare!"

    "Well, maybe I wouldn't. Killing you, even for a heaven stone, might not go down too well with my guild. We don't need another war with the Templars. On the other hand, there's no one around right now. Who would know?"
    The dialogue is decidedly ping-pong. Most lines are direct replies to the last person's direct reply to... and it all makes the characters something of ciphers, like their words are dependent on the script rather than their own inclinations.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    "If you were found out, well I wouldn't want to be you when your good friends in the guild find out."
    Repitition can be good, but found out/find out in the same sentence? Suggestion: replace one or the other with a synonymous word or phrase. Prediction: resultant sentence will be more pleasing to the mind's eye.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE
    But this time there was no mockery in her face. In its place was an expression of something that he had seen many times before, and knew only too well: greed.

    Swaglord knew he had her.

    To be continued…
    Solid ending. Wish I could say I thought as highly of the bulk of the story.




  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    Sorry about the delay in comments; these are on Part 1 only.
    Great to hear from you Rev, as always. In general, I agree with most all your comments, but taken as a whole, they seem to belie a kind of reader-slant that begs the question, "What is fan fiction?" I'll get into that idea more below.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    I think you may have done a little too much telling in the narration, though; while it generally wasn’t a huge problem, there were a few points that seemed a bit awkward.
    No argument about that. Glad it wasn't too bad. But this is interesting:


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    This felt a little too much like the narrator forcing in something the reader should know, in my opinion.
    I wonder what exactly you mean by this. You are right, of course, that this line is flagrantly and clumsily stuffed with background information, but what intrigues me is your assertion that the reader should already know this. How? Unless I assume that all readers have played the game.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    It’s not too bad so as to be unbelievable straight up, but him not hearing anything humanoid and in armor going at a full run is a little bit of a stretch.
    It's a valid point, however, anyone who had played the game would know that their apparel consists mostly of animal skins with some belts and leather here and there. So we're back to that question again: do I assume knowledge of the game or not? And how much? (I'll admit that the silent approach is a bit of a stretch in any case, given their massive size and the degree of clumsiness attributed to them.)


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    Maybe it’s just me, but the ending phrase seems odd because it reads grammatically as if it refers to the giant.
    I'll bow to your reading on this. I tried to fix it by carefully putting "him and they" just before the clause that modifies the "they", but it's not enough. Probably needed a "which" to make it more clear. Or a wizard like yourself. ;-)


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    “Knee-high to the tall highlander” felt like too much of high and its variants to me for one sentence.
    Ugh. Good catch.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    “It did no injury” sounded a bit too detached to me...I might see if you can’t get this across with something more visual.
    Another good catch. Plus it's an opportunity for a tongue-in cheek remark about the effect on the pony's noggin. (Can't believe I missed that!)


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    Quite a jump for a guy in full armor, assuming that the giant’s more than seven feet tall. It also seems a bit redundant to say “giving him and his pony the precious seconds they needed,” since the reader should be able to infer that from “stunning” (it seems like it was longer than seconds, too.) At any rate, I smell a game skill. :grin:
    I didn't actually picture the knight leaving the ground. He could have simply hiked his shield up and put his shoulder behind it. I think that would have a chance to cover the chest and face of even a 7-foot plus giant. And, yes, your sniffer is working perfectly.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    I’d remove one use of “fashion” here.
    Ugh, again. I shall, post-haste.


    Quote Originally Posted by RevenantsKnight View Post
    This read a bit dryly to me. Granted, I could see why you don’t want to take too long here, but even so, I’d think that you could write up a quick description that has a little more detail.
    Nothing much to say here. Probably the biggest complaint about the game is that it is too "grindy." Something tells me no one needs to relive the details of the hack and slash. But then, it depends on what I assume about the reader, doesn't it?


    So, I hope my questions don't come across as too argumentative. One of the nice things about this project is that the territory of Last Chaos fan fiction feels so fresh. As someone here was recently telling a poster, it's not their fault that the basics of D2 have been so thoroughly covered in this forum and elsewhere, but it's a fact that a D2 FF author has to deal with. And I totally agree with the point. I doubt I could stand to read yet another story that purports to tell why potions drop and how waypoints work no matter how well it was done.

    But, if that matters, then doesn't it also matter that such is not the case with LC? I can't imagine telling an inspired-by-but-not-in-any-way-dependent-on-ingame-details story at this point. Okay, I can imagine it, but it wouldn't feel right, at least not now. I think there is a natural allure to reading a dramatization of a game you are fond of, including and even because of the obvious use of game elements. I feel certain that there is some appeal readers, and I know that it's just plain fun to write. The question is, to what extent. In this story, I am trying to find a balance between evoking game elements that are famiilar and full of appeal without becoming too trite and unoriginal. If I were writing this three years and hundreds of LC fan fictions from now, I'm sure I would do it differently.

    I would also like it to appeal to people who have not played the game. And your comments are very helpful in that respect. Thanks much!

    (Snow, I suspect I'll be picking up on some of these same themes when I reply to your post, which won't be until a bit later.)




  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    Nice start, but you forgot an 'a' in there. *points* I'm afraid finding an error in the third sentence threw me irrevocably into critique mode for the remainder of this entry.
    Tough crowd, tough crowd... I tell ya I don't get no respect... Last night I made love to my wife and she complained that my modifiers were dangling. I told her that was one time when I would have appreciated a little more passive voice...


    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    Noooo!
    Whatever I wrote, it was worth it just to get the image of you singing like a damsel in distress. Never fear, oh Snowble one, Under-DEAD(CAFE) is here!


    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    Not generic character class appearance. Please no! That's one of the things I hate most about D2 fanfic: that so few people take the opportunity to replace Blizzard's noncustomizable characters with unique looks. People often deride fanfic as a crutch to avoid creating new worlds, characters, etc., but it can also be an excuse to create new things with restrictions that were only present to begin with because they made sense in the context of the source material. In other words, D2 (and apparently Last Chaos) only has generic looks for each character class because it's easier to create one cool design for everyone than thousands. They're more iconic, too, which admittedly comes into play here, but you don't need a red cape and an S-shield for people to know you're a superhero. Wearing your underwear on the outside? Also optional.
    Two things: 1) I did totally screw this up. 2) I did actually create some of this. To whit: I should not have described the entire list of characteristics as "easily recognizable." Way too pat and not realistic. What, are all the rogues clones of each other? Certainly not. In fact, I've never seen a dagger tattoo on an in-game rogue, behind the ear or anywhere else, nor a war-ribbon braided into their hair. I was actually kind of pleased with myself for inventing those details, but the way I wrote it, you were 100% justified in thinking that I was just running down a list of generic rogue features. My bad. Great catch. (Although, I should point out that someone who had played the game would, I think, have instantly picked up on the fact that I was embellishing the rogue's appearance, not merely describing what was in the game. Whether they would have liked my addition of the braid and tattoo is anyone's guess, but I think it's at least a potential plus in that regard.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    Heh. He sure likes that pony. Wonder what the story is there...
    I can't tell you how pleased I am that you picked up on that. Just picture the same damsel referenced above squealing with delight as she is being lifted off the railroad track by Dudley Sweet-Pecs. But you are going to have to wait for the sequel, "Robin the Wonder Pony," to find out more. (Not really...)



    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    You totally just wanted to use "dulcet" in a sentence. Not that that's so bad.
    Cosmic forces arrayed against the use of "dulcet": 0, Me: 1


    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    Needs more sexual tension. Or not, but I was disappointed in how little the whole chest-sitting scene moved me. There's high cuteness potential there, but on first read I didn't feel it.
    I deliberately shied away from it. Partly because I felt it might not be suitable for some of the audience, but moreso for character development reasons.


    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    Spicy breath! My only weakness! Heh, I liked this line.
    Thanks. (And I was afraid it might be too cliche. )


    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    Yeah... um, with the... you see it, right?
    I no, I no!


    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    The dialogue is decidedly ping-pong. Most lines are direct replies to the last person's direct reply to... and it all makes the characters something of ciphers, like their words are dependent on the script rather than their own inclinations.
    This is interesting. I just re-read that section. I'm not sure I'm seeing what you mean. I do see that some of it is rather comic-booky and filled with unessential details that do some of the narrator's work for him, but I'm not sure that a conversation of this kind wouldn't actually be a bit ping-pong. I mean, there's no deep subject matter here. He's got something she wants, they both know it, but he's trying to lie his way out of giving it to her and she's trying to convince him he should. Not sure I would expect anything different from people in this situation. Furthermore, (I don't think I'm giving too much away here) with regard to the dialogue following the plot, at the end of the dialogue the plot becomes rather committed to following the improvised lie the knight came up with. More like the plot following the dialogue. I'd sure be interested in hearing more of your thoughts on this.


    Quote Originally Posted by Snowglare View Post
    Solid ending. Wish I could say I thought as highly of the bulk of the story.
    Appreciate your candor. Let's see how long I can hold your interest.


    So, picking up on my responses to RevK, the "recognizable character" issue that you brought up is another facet of the question: "What is fan fiction?" In that regard, isn't character recognizability, generic or otherwise, an essential quality of fan fiction? As is recognizability of place, of myth, and even of objects? Surely it can only be a matter of degree, as in it can be overdone, but if you take away all recognizabilty, you couldn't call it fan fiction, could you?

    Thanks for your comments.




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    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE View Post
    I can't tell you how pleased I am that you picked up on that.
    It was pretty obvious, really. I was proud of myself for noticing it the first time, but after several more bits of subtext it was practically spelled out. As the shippers say, Swaglord/Pony OTP.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE View Post
    I deliberately shied away from it. Partly because I felt it might not be suitable for some of the audience, but moreso for character development reasons.
    Far be it from me to encourage ribaldry. I was thinking more PG-13 style, but I'll leave you to write the story as you will.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE View Post
    This is interesting. I just re-read that section. I'm not sure I'm seeing what you mean. I do see that some of it is rather comic-booky and filled with unessential details that do some of the narrator's work for him, but I'm not sure that a conversation of this kind wouldn't actually be a bit ping-pong. I mean, there's no deep subject matter here. He's got something she wants, they both know it, but he's trying to lie his way out of giving it to her and she's trying to convince him he should. Not sure I would expect anything different from people in this situation. Furthermore, (I don't think I'm giving too much away here) with regard to the dialogue following the plot, at the end of the dialogue the plot becomes rather committed to following the improvised lie the knight came up with. More like the plot following the dialogue. I'd sure be interested in hearing more of your thoughts on this.
    Not sure what else to say. It just felt to me like the idea was to get from point A to point B rather than have a naturally evolving conversation. But when I see really good dialogue, I tend to wonder how they did it. It's hard to imagine how two unique characters would interact with each other, neither doing quite what the other expected or wanted. Here they're a little too predictable, too convenient in their answers, and the conversation is not detoured from its intended end.

    It's possible I'm being too harsh on the dialogue - like I said, I'm hardly an expert on the stuff - but a conversation like this is like a story where the characters don't disrupt things. When I see a character do something stupid that screws up some plan or opportunity, it's frustrating, but also interesting. Same thing when they say something or react to something said in an inconvenient way. It's like, "if you'd just agree, the problem would be solved," but they won't. You can go overboard with that and end up a sitcom, though. Tricky business.


    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE View Post
    So, picking up on my responses to RevK, the "recognizable character" issue that you brought up is another facet of the question: "What is fan fiction?" In that regard, isn't character recognizability, generic or otherwise, an essential quality of fan fiction? As is recognizability of place, of myth, and even of objects? Surely it can only be a matter of degree, as in it can be overdone, but if you take away all recognizabilty, you couldn't call it fan fiction, could you?

    Thanks for your comments.
    Certainly without anything borrowed, fiction would be just that. Not fannish enough by half to warrant special classification. But you can do D2 (again, I know nothing about Last Chaos, so I'll limit myself to D2 examples) fanfic without Akara or Gheed, without barbarians or amazons, without Diablo or Baal, and it could still be D2 fanfic. You need something, but it can be small or large, the only thing or one of many. And such elements needn't detract. I see nothing wrong with, for instance, including paladin auras in a story. It's only a problem when you start talking about "aura switching," or how the paladin has stacked level 30 holy shock from dream runewords and does a jillion damage per hit, or anything else that screams, "this is a videogame!" Not to be confused with real life, where you would lack a heads up display or any means by which to calculate how many hits it would take you to kill Hell Meph.

    Videogame fanfic should remind people of the game world, but it should also translate things to the point where you don't feel like you're playing the game itself. I agree that some things, like potions, can't really be translated, but all you really need are the basics, if that. Take the storyline, the geography, the characters, and tell your tale. A Stone of Contention mostly succeeds in this regard. The characters feel more like people than collections of polygons, and I'm sure most of what you've written goes above and beyond the game's capabilities to show. The chest-sitting for instance, and the digging in a glove for treasure. They've yet to make a game where "The rogue slipped off her gloves and slid one hand between the ropes and into the sleeve of his gauntlet" can be portrayed outside of a cutscene, which would be noninteractive, which is antithetical to videogames.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0xDEADCAFE View Post
    "Don't tell me you’re gonna to get all macho on me."
    Found another error. Should be gonna or going to. By the way, what's with all the Spanish phrases? You mentioned comic-booky before, and now I can't resist saying this rogue sounds like a comic book character, the sort Chris Claremont might write, with her smattering of common foreign phrases.




  9. #9
    The Dark Library Disco-neck Ted's Avatar
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    Hey, dead. Good to see more of your work here.

    But... I'm about to say some bad things. Probably best to put it down to style differences and ignore it.

    Got your eyes closed and the ipod cranked? Good.

    You have a very deliberate way of telling a story. Often, the pacing is very well considered and helps the tale flow into the reader's consciousness. But sometimes I'm just screaming for you to get real, to get with it, to get down to the nitteh and the gritteh.

    Take the start of the fight:

    Springing to his feet, he quickly realized that his sword and shield were out of reach.
    "Quickly realized"? These words are sloths! They add nothing, and they keep me one step removed from what is going on. My advice is to either leave them out or write a reaction with some strength to it. I want to see that his sword was out of reach, and if a realization is involved, I want to feel his emotional response to this turn of events.

    Again, at the start of the second installment:

    Swaglord did not have to wait long to find out who or what had attacked him.
    This is only a little flabby, and under the circumstances, his attacker could well be a "what", but I'd tone this baby up. Being that precise isn't really necessary.

    The face of a young woman soon appeared above him, followed immediately by a suitable neck and shoulders.
    "Soon appeared" is a weak action, and unless something other than a "suitable neck and shoulders" makes an appearance, this is redundant. I know, it's a Dead style thing, but it just isn't adding anything to the story besides upping the word count. This sentence reads as if the swaglord is comparing what he sees to a checklist of what a girl looks like rather than instantly recognizing an everyday sight. Sure, some gamers need a "spotters guide" to identify the opposite sex, but I thought you were past that point, and the character should be as well.

    They hovered over him for moment and then seemed to swoop down on him. He felt a sudden weight on his chest and realized she must be sitting on him.
    Again with the realizing. Dude, when a chick sits on yer chest, you know it. Why does he have to figure this out? Would it be so terrible to write, "she sat on his chest", plain and direct, rather than beating around the bush?

    There are probably other places where the character seems totally removed from the action, or words aren't pulling their weight. Take a look and see what you think. Or not.

    Also, on a different note, I'm disappointed that our hero didn't come up with a better story when the rogue asks about the stone. Once she brings it up, there is hardly any point to denying its existence.

    Overall, the story is all right, but definitely not my favorite of your works, not by a long shot. That said, when can we expect the next installment?

    Luck with it.

    -DnT




  10. #10
    IncGamers Member
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    Tough crowd...

    On the other forum, I get comments like these:

    - "I love these. keep em comin!!!"

    - "omfg"

    - "What happens neext... who did that.. was it a pilifer lol.. this rocks lol.. awesome, u are a good writer too"

    These are each full, complete comments, unedited and unabridged, except for the smileys. (I'm still wondering about the second one.) No one has pointed out any spelling, grammar or stylistic problems. Neither has anyone said what they like or dislike about any part of it. Over there I have posted 5 parts and the flow of comments, initially a babbling brook, has given way to something like a drip trail of sap on the side of an old fruit tree.

    All of which points to why I post here. And let me just say before I get started: "Snow and Ted: Precious hateses you!!!" Ahem. Glad we got that out of the way.

    I do write from point A to B, and, yes, it does have a deliberate feel, although I might have said "emphatic" instead. "Precise" seems right, too. I may be a little obsessed with clarity, perhaps overcompensating for a tendency toward obscurity. Or... Are you guys familiar with the concept of "regression to the mean?" It applies to all sorts of things from weather patterns to baseball players and, I suppose, especially to a software developer and sometime technical writer who attempts to write engaging fiction.

    Some time ago I wrote a Diablo 2 piece (never posted) that was full of the usual dead puffery, not to mention some very deadly dialog, which single-handedly ended my writing hobby for several months. I wrestled that puppy to completion and by the time I was done I just hated it. The worst of it was getting to a point where every sentence wanted to start with the words "and then..." It was like my writing instinct was telling me to lay things out like a forensic doctor recreating a crime scene for a jury. It was awful. I wouldn't exactly call it writer's block because it seemed like I could have easily continued grinding out sentences along the line from A to B, but I just couldn't stand doing it.

    Here's the ironic part, I don't write deliberately unless there is such a thing as spontaneous deliberation. In fact, I naturally do the opposite, which is to stream words to the page about as fast as I can type. Half the time, no, most of the time, I find it frustrating that I can't type it out even a tenth as fast as it comes to me. You might call this" "big, wet lump of consciousness" writing. Except that's not really possible, so I end up spending most of my time chasing the tail of a story that's already vanished over my mental horizon.

    So I guess the deliberate, A-to-B feel is dead-on. (I made a pun!) When I go into fast-type mode, I may well end up rendering something like a specification of what I've already thunked up. No wonder it feels that way. Stuffing it with my usual stream of dreamy asides, half-witticisms, forced metaphors and poetic license abuses doesn't really make up for that, does it?

    Hmm... Well, this is good stuff. You see, since I don't apply rules to what comes out, any learning that is going to affect the output must sink deep into that unreachable place where the words come from. I'm convinced that bad prose can't be edited into good prose. No list of hints and tips is going to enable me to achieve real improvement. That can only come through changing my fundamental perceptions of storytelling, which can only happen through a real change in my understanding. In other words, I need to "get it." And I'm wondering if a change in the process might help. Or if anything will.

    Snow and Ted: I think I understand what you are saying and it's brought some things into focus for me. In fact, the experience of writing the most recent part (part VII) was all-too reminiscent of writing that D2 story I mentioned above. It felt forced; it felt hurried; it felt exactly like trying to get from point A to point B. Without going back and re-reading it, I'm willing to bet it will read that way, too. And I have the feeling that the story may well have entered a grindy phase.

    So... I quit. Thank you for making it clear to me that I'm a terrible writer and that I should give up and never bother the world with my bad prose again. No. I don't think I'll quite do that. However, since the next 5 parts of this are already written (three of them are posted elsewhere) none of the good effects of these ruminations have any chance of appearing until much later on.

    In the meantime, I'll keep posting weekly until the glorious finish or I kill myself--whichever comes first. I could obviously post all of what's already written in one big dump, but somehow I don't think the forum has the bandwidth to accept that.

    Thanks for your comments.




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