THE St. Louis Speakeasy
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Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: The September-December contest comments thread
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:57 pm GMT 
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Artemis Selene wrote:
@Fotecp: See, I thought mentioning the whole Virgin Goddess thing would be a good thing, but it just slipped my mind. Personally, I think it'd be a little hard to show more depth of personality when they're being flirty and fun. The opposite side of that is brooding and short tempered for the both of them. Didn't quite feel right in the piece.


I'm going to take the liberty of interpreting Fotecp's comment, since we have disturbingly similar thought patterns (Fotecp, if I get it wrong, please feel free to correct and clarify). "Flirty and fun"/"brooding and short tempered" are almost more like states of being than personality (although personality would consist of a proclivity to being one or the other). But if all the external features of Artemis and Orion were stripped away--if, physically, they were two identical featureless blob-creatures with the ability to speak and run or what have you--personality is what would distinguish Artemis!blob from Orion!blob. Even if both their personalities consist mainly of being either flirty/fun or brooding/short tempered, the reader ideally feels like there's an underlying consistency in the expression of Artemis' moods which is distinctly different from the underlying consistency in the expression of Orion's moods, even if they have similar personality types.

. . . I have a feeling that I may not be explaining this as well as I had hoped. It makes perfect sense in my head :B

In any case, I think part of the confusion for me is the fact that the story drifts back and forth between Artemis' POV and Orion's. I couldn't clearly distinguish between the omniscient narrative voice, Artemis' voice, and Orion's voice. Since most of the characterization happened though their thoughts, this lack of differentiation deprives you of another opportunity for characterization, and it's a huge one. I think there's a lot of potential here, in the story as well as the characters--so while I hope this isn't coming across as harsh, if it is, it's because I really am trying to help. Reading this, I'm left with a lot of questions which I think would do a lot in terms of characterization. For example: what made Orion pray to be Artemis' companion? Was he already in love with her from afar? In the moment when he looks at Artemis, right before the kiss, is he thinking oh shit I should not be kissing the Virgin Goddess, we will get in so much trouble or is it more along the lines of awesome, kissing Artemis, who cares about this Virgin Goddess business anyway? Does it catch him totally off-guard, or is it the culmination of something he's consciously wanted for a long time? Same question goes for Artemis as well. What sort of relationship do they have when they're not chasing one another? Does she spend a lot of time making fun of him? Does being only half god make Orion feel inferior or unworthy of her? etc.

I don't know the text of the Greek myths all that well, so I don't know how close your writing stays to the 'canon', as it were. But anyone who has read a book of myths knows more or less what happened to these figures. Writing about them like this gives you the opportunity to flesh them out into real people, to put human faces on these legendary gods and goddesses and heroes. That is a major thing your stories have to offer which the original myths do not. Basically, this is a cool project and a cool opportunity, and I'd like to see you take fuller advantage of it in the text.

. . . PHEW that is more than I intended to write. Hope it's helpful! Carry on.

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Ahoy!
 Post subject: Re: The September-December contest comments thread
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:35 pm GMT 
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EDIT: A disclaimer; upon rereading my own comments, I'm beginning to suspect it sounds like I'm saying it's a bad story or something. It isn't! It won a prize! But I think it could be even better than it is now. Obviously it's compelling enough to get me invested in the premise, given that I just wrote a small essay about it. :B

I don't want you to feel bad about this, because you shouldn't. I think you have the talent to bridge the gap between good writing and really great writing, hence why I ended up writing like an editor vs. a reviewer. As I said, my intent is to offer constructive criticism rather than tear anybody down.

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The Personification of Spring
 Post subject: Re: The September-December contest comments thread
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:42 pm GMT 
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How I wish I had the patience to read long text bits; then I could actually read these masterpieces.

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spud.
 Post subject: Re: The September-December contest comments thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:19 pm GMT 
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@dvorak

:D Made sense to me.

@ContestBoss

I should probably just learn to break my bad habits. :P

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Just Damn Cute
 Post subject: Re: The September-December contest comments thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:45 pm GMT 
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Friendship is Madness- the Secret of Zecora

I have also not watched the show and as thus was a little confused about who they were while I read. But I think I sussed everything out in the end. I'll have to agree with Graid as well that a bit more description would have benefited the story. And probably helped in elaborating on the theme as well. I don't want to say the writing is childish, but as the character's are character's from a children's story, I think you do well keeping with the geared-towards-children style well. Even with the very not child friendly story.

Among the Costegrag Mountains

Yet another rather epic fantasy piece. It was wonderful, and part of me can't help but wonder if it's part of the other story you wrote for a previous contest. It was an interesting world you had set up there, and in this one as well and I want to read more about it. That being said though, I think a little more detail about Gwyn finally charging into a fight. Not necessarily the details of the fight itself, but the way that he as affected by finally doing it and how it affected him to charge into the fray with his friend and companions. Though that might be something for something a little longer than this sort of thing.

The Staircase

This was lovely. Well written and thought provoking. It was very refreshing and wonderful to have such a different take on the whole Devil and God relationship, especially with this different kind of Devil as well. It almost came off in a way like a old ex-married couple still feuding about who gets the kids and what's the right way to raise and punish them. I think it's a personal preference, but I'm not fond of just dialog in a story. Yours worked fine though, but less might have been better.

The Lord is Our Butcher

I must say, I enjoyed this piece a lot. The way you went about the state he'd fallen into after his actions was beautifully done. While it took a second read, the theme was very subtly there with him wanting to start a new life. But the ending had me just as confused as Graid. I am confused as to why the man who hired him was in a confessional to shoot him. And why did he just gun him down for no reason. He didn't even given him the chance to confess. It is really just the ending that threw me off, otherwise it was wonderful to read.

Procrastination

Indeed, how very meta. I also know that pain well of doing it the last minute. I think mine was started and finished the day before the (extended) deadline. Themey, though it might have done better with a bit more depth to it. Shorter entries are harder to judge really.

Two Shots of Bourbon make a Man

Again, length makes judging this one a little harder, but it was wonderful. Have I said that a lot? Probably have. But I mean it nonetheless. It was greatly styled and just the flow of it was spot on. I think a bit more length might have helped it some, and a clearer theme in it.

Windy, Snowy, Foggy

I did really enjoy this piece. I could see the snow, see their struggle against the elements with the wind and the snow. It's an interesting story for certain. But I honestly struggled a bit to find the theme in the story. But sadly I can't think of anything to suggest to help. :/

Foreign Lands

I've already told you how lovely and wonder I thought it was. I smiled the whole while reading it. I really enjoyed his inner thoughts of 'Love is like a train, no life is like a train' sort of thing. It was wonderful. And I know you hate editing, but there were some spots where maybe brevity might been good. But I like wordy things myself.

Redemption

I love the idea of this piece. Really do. I wasn't quite for sure at first who was on what side, but as I read, I realized that not many non-German's would like Wagner at that time. But ugh, really, this idea was wonderful and excited so wonderfully as well. I have to agree with Fotecp though, but I think that's because I don't read German myself. For flow, either I'd write the lines in English or I'd write it all in German and put the translation as a footnote at the bottom. That's all I've got.


@dvorak: I know you're not saying it's a bad story or something, it's okay, really. And I get what both you, and Fotecp are saying. But I think it's harder to get that sort of thing across in a short story such as this. Some of it felt out place to put in it as well. I think I added on more when I kept writing, after the contest was over, because there is more to this story, there's a lot more actually. I've got it from them meeting to a little after but I have plans for up to his death.

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European! Old! Pretentious!
 Post subject: Re: The September-December contest comments thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:05 pm GMT 
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Dvorak and Artemis, thanks for your comments.

As to the translation issue with the 'Redemption' entry, personally I found it best as it was. Had it been all German with the English translations as a footnote, the ways in which the content of the opera and the happenings of the story added meaning to each other would have been lost. Where each line appears in the text is relevant to the sequence of the story.

I also preferred it having the German as well as the plain English translation. It fitted the atmosphere and underscored the difference of nationality and the comment about the 'filthy language' the French soldier does not want to learn yet appreciates in song. Also for me it helped me to consider it as a musical piece of Wagner to see the German lyrics, the meaning of which is then given to the reader. A little like the textual version of watching a video of someone singing it in German with English substitles vs watching an English dub.

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Literary Revolutionary
 Post subject: Re: The September-December contest comments thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:52 am GMT 
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Artemis Selene wrote:
part of me can't help but wonder if it's part of the other story you wrote for a previous contest.


I'm gonna admit it, I'm just using these contests as a way to make sure I keep working on the same piece instead of getting distracted XD Maybe I'll try harder in the next one XD

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