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Messages - Talyn

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Reading Excuses / Re: May 31 - Talyn - It's All Mercenary CH 1
« on: June 08, 2010, 12:16:40 AM »
Silk, since you admit not knowing much about horses, let me explain where I'm coming from with Conner. Unlike a lot of fantasy stories where the horse is merely living transportation, no more than part of the scenery, Conner has his own distinct personality, and therefore is a character in his own right. It's also more true to life since any horse-owner will tell you the same. Is your argument that he seems too smart? There is a ton of literature out there about horse intelligence. Did you know miniature horses can do as much and more than any guide dog, plus they live over three times longer? War horses were trained to fight with their riders. I saw a demonstration by a police horse once. If I were on the run, I'd be more afraid of the horse than the cop riding it.

As for him returning to his owner, that can also be explained by training. Horses can be acclimated to all kinds of noises and chaos (think about mounted police in cities). A mercenary would also have frequent encounters of the sort, at least in my world, so we can explain his quick return as such.

His 'protest' would be a grumble, a snort, any sort of noise a horse would make. I don't have to be specific for a reader to infer that he makes a noise meaning he isn't happy.

I imagine my narrator is about thirty or so. No, he's not a grizzled old veteran, but he's not a novice either. He does have some experience. His voice is still being refined. My first version was very chatty, sardonic, and snarky, but it went all over the place as new thoughts popped up. I'm still trying to find the happy medium.

This chapter actually has been tweaked since the version you read. I can send it to you if you're interested.

Reading Excuses / Re: May 31 - Talyn - It's All Mercenary CH 1
« on: June 02, 2010, 01:39:32 AM »
Shiver, I also have to mention that I found 'Umm' hilarious. He actually does have a name, and you learn it at the end of the next chapter, there's just no way I could slip it in naturally in this chapter with it being first person. (who thinks their name to himself?)

And Chaos I'm glad you're finally happy about something. Kidding ;)

Reading Excuses / Re: May 31 - Talyn - It's All Mercenary CH 1
« on: June 01, 2010, 09:08:23 PM »
Okay, when I read that, my first thought was 'So we have a fighter and a barbarian. We'll need a Rogue, a Cleric, and a Wizard. If we're lucky, we can get a Paladin too, but Josh might not want to play since the last campaign ended with his character being gang-raped by anthropomorphic trees.' I'm beginning to wonder if you're turning a D&D campaign into a story. There's nothing wrong with that, but you'll want to disguise it better.

Le gasp! How did you know?! [/sarcasm] Actually, there will be an archer, mage and knight. And yes, I purposely made it sound like a D&D campaign. I set out to poke fun at the cliche's although since then it's grown into its own story. Tune in next week!

...okay I'll stop. I've been stressing over my writing lately and I may have just gone crazy. No matter.

The point I was trying to make is in the very next chapter I break the mold. And actually, this is his only bit of recruiting.

I do agree that he needs to be a little more involved. This is actually the first version of the chapter that includes the attack at all; originally he saw only the results, and it happened a few chapters later. You all wouldn't have wanted to read the first version. It was more snarky, but it was rambling, and nothing much happened.

As for not knowing Conner was a horse, sorry, but I think that one's you. I say so in the fifth sentence, after alluding to reins in the fourth. ("What the hell! Conner!" I yelled after him; the stupid horse has my gear.)

Reading Excuses / Re: May 31- dark_prophecy- Unseen (Short Story)
« on: June 01, 2010, 08:42:54 PM »
Small thing:
"Other days I'd open the door to a snarling fifteen pounds of pure hatred." - the wording bothers me here. Maybe "open the door to fifteen pounds of pure snarling hatred"

Overall, I liked it. The story flowed well, and starting with the dog was a nice touch. Animals always notice things we ignore.

Two things...

First, it's very telling. I know you can't avoid some of it, but there were very few scenes where we're actually in the moment. When he's on the train with the little boy, that was a good scene. It showed us there was something wrong with the character himself, not Harold. Scenes like when he's trying to get a gun read almost like a list. "I did this. It didn't work, so I did this." While I'm thinking about it, why a gun? If all he was after was noise, why not an airhorn or the like? The gun would make more sense if he was angry at everyone who ever ignored him.

Second, a locker room? Really? For most of this story, the guy is scared out of his mind and desperate for a cure. Then all of a sudden he wants to jerk off? It feels like you just threw this scene in because obviously everyone who turns invisible wants to sneak into a locker room.

By the way, you have very clean writing, I appreciate it. Drives me nuts when I can't concentrate on a story for all the glaring grammar mistakes.

Reading Excuses / Re: May 31 - Talyn - It's All Mercenary CH 1
« on: June 01, 2010, 08:03:17 PM »
Dangit, it's hard to make an argument when I can't even tell you the 'big reveal'. Just trust me that the dragon SEEMS like the main conflict and certainly is at this point, but is really only part of the problem. There's no way this would fit into a short story.

But you've given me plenty to think on, so thanks.

Reading Excuses / Re: May 31 - Talyn - It's All Mercenary CH 1
« on: June 01, 2010, 07:48:02 PM »
Oh believe me, it's not going to turn into that. I'm using classic elements, true, but they'll be twisted. Also, where are you getting the idea there's no conflict? It might not be very compelling in your opinion, but it is there. The conflict is introduced in the first sentence. The dragon is terrorizing the port and the surrounding countryside. The MC wants to go after it. He has to gather people willing to fight such a monstrosity, he has to survive such a confrontation. The problem comes when it turns out the conflict is not so cut and dry as a marauding monster. I thought I hinted at it with dragon's odd behavior: Letting the people escape, not sticking around to eat the livestock...

I see what you meant by character. A character's personality is largely shaped by the society and environment he grows up in. I'm not disputing that. My brain just seems to work backwards: I come up with the character first, and then determine a background that would produce him.

Reading Excuses / Re: May 31 - Talyn - It's All Mercenary CH 1
« on: June 01, 2010, 04:03:14 PM »
Chaos: You make some good points, but I must disrespectfully disagree with your statement that character flows from setting. For me at least, the character comes first, and the setting and everything else flows from him. But of course, not everyone writes that way. I agree he's ordinary. That was on purpose. I believe a character doesn't need to have a tragic past or deep-seated psychological issues in order to grow. As for the detachment, once it was clear the family was in no danger, he was simply admiring the swiftness of the destruction. Though the delivery could probably use some work.

Dark: Glad you enjoyed it. That voice was the first thing I had, back before I even knew the plot. Just sat down and starting writing, had my first chapter in an hour (barely resembles this version though :P) Personally I don't like using italics in first person. To me, they're all his thoughts, so why only differentiate a few?

Reading Excuses / May 31 - Talyn - It's All Mercenary CH 1
« on: May 31, 2010, 06:40:48 PM »
Thanks for reading.

Now let me have it!

Dan Wells / Re: Interesting coincidence
« on: May 28, 2010, 06:17:58 PM »
I'd like to see that. Mom's version was even shorter than yours, although she'd only just heard it herself, so she probably butchered it in the delivery :p

Dan Wells / Interesting coincidence
« on: May 28, 2010, 06:12:24 AM »
I have to share this.

My mother tells me this joke yesterday, and calls it engineering humor. I thought it was hilarious. And then last night I bought Serial Killer (finally). So today I'm reading along and lo and behold Margaret tells THE SAME JOKE. No lie.

To be specific, the set-up was slightly different (the way mom told it, the chief had three wives as opposed to three daughters) but all the elements were there, and the punchline was the same. I laughed out loud when I read it. Is that not completely awesome?

Reading Excuses / Re: Email List + Submission Dates
« on: May 25, 2010, 09:46:55 PM »
Hi all!

It's early yet, I know, but what can I say? I'd like to put in a bid to submit something next week. Haven't decided if it'll be a silly short story I wrote awhile back or a chapter of my as yet unfinished novel. Preferences anyone?  :P

Joining this site has apparently sparked something. I've gotten more writing done in the last two days than in the last month.  ;D

Reading Excuses / Re: Your Background
« on: May 24, 2010, 11:17:12 PM »
Hey there

I'm squeaky new to TWG (found it from Writing Excuses actually), but after poking around a bit, I think I'd like to join this group. As it's monday, I probably missed the email for this week, but that works too. I'll just settle in and see how things work, and maybe I'll have a submission for next week.

I'm a discovery writer, which has caused some interesting continuity problems, but I also have a issue with editing. I literally have pages and pages of notes on things to fix. I cannot allow myself to do more than that or else I end up in an endless editing cycle. It's what killed my last three or four novels. Maybe one day I'll resurrect them.

My current novel is a humorous fantasy told in first-person. I find it easier to write in first-person, though I know it's not everyone's cup of tea. Look forward to working with you all!

Site News / Re: Introduce yourself - right on!
« on: May 24, 2010, 10:22:03 PM »
Hi there!

I'm Aly. I'll be 24 in a couple of weeks and live in North Carolina. I have a BS in Biology but unfortunately have yet to find a job in my field. So I write. I am in the process of writing a humorous fantasy novel and hope for it to be published eventually, but first I have to finish the thing. (I'm one of those writers with several half-finished novels under her belt, victims of over-editing.) I have high hopes for the current project however.

I found this site by stumbling across the Writing Excuses podcast (through itunes, if I remember correctly), and noting that one of the podcasters was Brandon Sanderson, a name I'd only heard before in conjunction with WoT. (I've just embarked on a reread of the series in order to get the full effect of aMoL.) And many giggles later, I've decided to poke around the site to see what I can find.

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