I guess I should do my own plug thread....

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Postby tilinelson2 » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:02 pm

Well, here we go. Your last story worked for your series as PSIV worked for the original series, and you know what I mean by that.

Your choice of argument was too risky: the implied future of Rika and Chaz based on a sketch and a comment. It would already be risky because of the way it was thrown up into the book, which has no credibility concerning the information put on it. Not only that, the information is very poor to work, because it creates a ridiculous future scenario for PSIV, that makes no sense.

*Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers*

Focusing on the story, well, your style is still a bit rushed, skipping some necessary info, but you have progressed a lot since Dark Energy. As for the plot, I confess it was very weak. You lacked substantial arguments for your story. You failed to explain convincingly why Chaz would still be a hunter after the source of all evil was vanquished; you gave him a pedestrian death, not justifiable for "the chosen one", who had faced dangers a million times worse; Rika is just an imbecile who takes her newborn child to a mission; the guild admittance process makes no sense; the villains attacked hundreds of caravans, defeated dozens of groups, including the one with Chaz, but succumbed to a woman who had just given birth to a child (top level Mary Sue); and, finally, the main action is deeply flawed, as everything turns magically in Rika's favor, without effort, without a good reason, especially the Elsydeon destruction event.

*Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers*

As I mentioned earlier, you took a very risky argument to base your work on and, obviously, it would take an elaborate development to come with a great story. Your choice to turn it into the cliché action movie where the protagonist seeks vengeance against the big villain group alone (and receives supernatural help) doesn't work in this case. It surprised me that you, who is usually picky about the probability of every small event of the stories you read happening, came with this story.

The story, alone, if better developed (less rushed, explaining more than jumping to conclusions) would be satisfactory, but it doesn't live up to Phantasy Star heritage. It would take a lot much to tie the events in a convincly way (it is not impossible and maybe you should try it). I'd take Dark Energy over it anytime, because Dark Energy is built over an intriguing argument.

Don't take it as a personal critic and don't delete the story. It is just my opinion about it. And my advice is to work harder in the things that happen between the acts of your story. What distinguishes a Romeo and Juliet from Titanic and Twilight is not the main argument it is based on (forbidden love), but what happens between the acts. So, you must work a bit harder to distinguish your vengeance-action story from the common crap Chuck Norris movie.
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Re:

Postby carlsojos » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:48 pm

Alrighty, time to analyze this feedback.
Your choice of argument was too risky: the implied future of Rika and Chaz based on a sketch and a comment.

Indeed. I simply felt like playing with something different, and that sketch had been on my mind for a while.

Focusing on the story, well, your style is still a bit rushed.... As for the plot, I confess it was very weak....

Meh, I do agree on both counts. There's a reason I don't consider myself a writer. It's still better than I expected, to be honest, but you're probably used to my "I suck" speech by now.

Don't take it as a personal critic and don't delete the story.

Hey, did I not say that I wanted more insults here? I enjoyed it (Granted, it's been a while since I indulged in a cheap action movie...), and your points are reason enough to continue striving for improvement. We'll see what pops out of my head next time.
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Re: I guess I should do my own plug thread....

Postby Tanith » Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:27 am

I was happy to be given the opportunity to proofread this story, Josh. It was really enjoyable. More in-depth stuff:

I'm not a fan of the present tense. It works really well in your second-person narrative stories like "Test Flight," but for a more traditional story, it's quite jarring. However, that doesn't render the story ineffective, and you were at least consistent with your tense.

I like how you took an intriguing piece of information from the compendium and turned it into a story. To me this is what fanfic is all about: expanding on what was vague, the "what ifs," and extending beyond the canon endings of our favorite series. While I think the beginning was rushed a bit, the remaining 2/3 of the story was evenly paced and made for an easy read. Rika is extremely likable here, but you manage to make her come across as still struggling between being and adult and what's left of her sheltered origins. You write her as a strong, capable fighter, even so soon post-partum, but she's also vulnerable and careless at times. Certainly risking the life of her newborm for a glimpse of her newly deceased husband is a risky and somewhat selfish act, but it's fitting of a young woman rushed into adulthood and left without proper guidance of older, wiser friends and family.

I really like your dialogue. It comes across as very natural and broadens the minor characters' appeal quite a bit. Rather than being stereotyped, personality-less minions, your enemies are wonderfully colorful. The same goes for the remainer of the extended cast, such as the people Rika runs across at the hunter's guild as well as Hahn and Saya. Speaking of the latter two, it was nice to see that Rika still had ties to Hahn and Saya, lending a support network, however small, for Rika and Rui.

True to PSIV, Elsydeon seems to have a life of its own, when it shatters at just the right moment. I don't see this as an easy way to get Rika out of her predicament, rather, it's the nature of the sword, having sensed a struggle between good and evil and acting accordingly to the situation. I also find no fault in Chaz's ultimate demise and feel it's fitting with PSIV. While Chaz triumphs over the Profound Darkness, he does so humbly, with major support from a very large party of other heroes who promptly leave his life after the game is over. It's safe to assume that he still lacks the support and guidance he would need to take on a dangerous profession like that of a hunter. That he's still reckless is believable, because there aren't Rykros gods or Alys or Rune to remind him to slow down and be careful and prudent in his chosen actions. It was apparent in the game that the other hunters (aside from Alys) were a rather blockheaded bunch, men with more brawn than brain. They certainly weren't going to be much help in getting Chaz into adulthood.

Finally, working Rika's recently post-partum physical limitations into the story should be applauded. While there are probably fringe fetish stories about women fighting and adventuring while breastfeeding, nothing you've written ventures into fetish territory. You manage to tackle this issue without it being highlighted or flaunted. It's just something that happens during the course of the story, giving the senquences a dose of reality. It's certainly better than ignoring the issue. The ending was sweet and showed how Rika had matured since the end of her adventure. Overall the story, while a fun adventure, had warmth and character throughout. It was a very pleasant read, and I tip my hat to you for not making motherhood an obstacle for Rika but a part of her maturing. Excellent work. It'd be fun if you wrote more for Rika and Rui. *hint hint*
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Re: I guess I should do my own plug thread....

Postby BenoitRen » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:59 pm

(This is more in response to Tanith's review than the story)

PSIV's theme is Chaz coming of age, so I don't think he'd be unable to take on a dangerous profession like a hunter. I feel saying otherwise undermines the character and what the game shows us.

Even alone, Chaz is quite a capable fighter, so I don't think his death is fitting at all.
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Re: I guess I should do my own plug thread....

Postby Tanith » Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:37 pm

Being a capable fighter and being a good decision maker are not the same thing.
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Re: I guess I should do my own plug thread....

Postby BenoitRen » Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:03 pm

That's irrelevant. He died thanks to wounds he got in a fight against a group of lowly rogues. More formidable foes were fought during PSIV, including when he was alone or close to.

There's also the Resta series of Techniques to heal wounds.
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Postby tilinelson2 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:00 pm

Heh, you have been successful with your new story, CJ, sparking different feelings among the readers, leading to debates and so on.
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Re: I guess I should do my own plug thread....

Postby Dr_Odin » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:22 pm

I will do some drugs tonight and read your story carlsojos! Let us discover how it will be like ;)
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Re: I guess I should do my own plug thread....

Postby Tanith » Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:20 am

BenoitRen wrote:That's irrelevant. He died thanks to wounds he got in a fight against a group of lowly rogues. More formidable foes were fought during PSIV, including when he was alone or close to.

There's also the Resta series of Techniques to heal wounds.

It's not necessary to bring game mechanics into a piece of fanfiction. If so, nothing interesting would ever happen. It'd just be more boring grinding: res here, foi there, etc. It's perfectly reasonable to believe Chaz could get into a sticky situation like the one in this story. When you write fanfiction, you have to look past game mechanics in order to write effectively. Game mechanics are for gameplay; they don't always belong in fiction. Otherwise Chaz would Ryuka wherever he wanted, too. That's boring literature.
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Re: I guess I should do my own plug thread....

Postby BenoitRen » Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:33 am

Techniques aren't solely a game mechanic. They're an integral part of life in Algol. It was even used in a scripted event after Alys got struck by the Black Wave.

Rika did use a telepipe in the story, which is equivalent to a single use of Ryuka.

I still don't think it's reasonable that he would be mortally wounded in such a situation, but we'll have to agree to disagree, I guess.
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Re: I guess I should do my own plug thread....

Postby Tanith » Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:41 am

BenoitRen wrote:...we'll have to agree to disagree, I guess.

Yep.
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Re: I guess I should do my own plug thread....

Postby augmentedfourth » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:00 am

Okay, I've been vaguely aware of the discussion on this story, but I haven't read any of it since I didn't want any preconceived notions or spoilers or whatnot. I'll go back and read the relevant posts tomorrow (since it's late o'clock and I should be getting to bed, but I shall review first!).

I don't know if it's been pointed out yet or not, but "rogues" is misspelled as "rouges" at least twice that I caught. I know, pesky spellcheck. There were a few other awkward word choices and/or phrasings, but nothing to really bother me.

Now onto the things that people care about. Readers of the Compendium know that Rika and Chaz did get together, they had a son, and Chaz didn't last long after that. I guess it could be argued that after defeating the Profound Darkness, Chaz should have been able to take out a group of bandits without issue, but I'll buy it. He could have been ambushed, outnumbered, any number of things, and as you pointed out that the crime rate was going up due to a crappy economy, desperate people do desperate things. It's entirely possible that his swing was still too slow. ;)

Rika's bad feeling about his mission and her grief in the aftermath seemed a little rushed and glossed over, I would have liked to read more about her inner feelings regarding both of those things. I did really like how she turned to Hahn and Saya after Chaz's death, as 1) I like them, 2) it makes sense, and 3) it's nice to think that they all continued their friendship after the game's events when so many of the other characters went their separate ways.

Which leads me to: I did find myself thinking as Rika went out in search of Elsydeon/the man who killed Chaz, "Why didn't she just leave Rui with Hahn and Saya?" I can accept her bringing him to the Guild when she signed up, but it didn't really make sense to me that a mother would willingly put her child in such danger, especially so soon after the death of the husband/father. I know we can argue attachment and nursing and all sorts of other things, but it seems like the risks would have outweighed the benefits of bringing him along and that made some of the resulting scenes feel a little forced to me.

I enjoyed all the fight scenes, from the basement to the Guild to the final showdown - they were very clearly-written and I got a good mental image of exactly what was going on. The coarse language fit both the hunters and the bandits perfectly, and the old guy at the end got a few laughs out of me. The epilogue was sweet, but again, I felt that you could have elaborated just a little bit more.

Tomorrow I'll catch up on all I missed and I'll be sure to insert even more of my opinions into this thread and argue with everyone else. :D
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Re: I guess I should do my own plug thread....

Postby Black Sword » Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:55 am

So here comes the long-awaited review!

I very much enjoyed the little callback to the original skittering critter in PSIV. A very nice little touch. Perhaps the Academy should start renting out its basement as a training place for wannabe hunters?

The fight scenes were very good, definitely got you into the action, but I often felt they ended too quickly. It's like steak, only instead of giving us a full steak, you give us enough of it that we're left wanting the full slab.

Your bandits are utterly unlikable, which is good, as there should be no reason for them to be sympathetic. They're credible scum that I wanted slaughtered to the last. Then again, I'm a lawful type. The Hunters were crass, but again, that's expected. Alys and Chaz seemed the only ones who knew not to piss in the corners.

I'm not sure what to make of Elsydeon shattering as it did. It seemed highly convenient, all things considered, especially when it helped defeat the Profound Darkness. It's possible that it recognized Rika as a protector, but I found myself skeptical at that point. Why should it shatter to protect one life? Isn't it more important to remain intact in case another evil manages to awaken from the energy the Profound Darkness left behind? Is that one life really worth such a major sacrifice?

I had some issues with Chaz's death. I can absolutely believe they killed him, but I find his long, linger death a little harder to accept. Rika used GiRes on Alys after the Black Energy Wave struck her down. The wound resembled a deep perforation of the chest, and Rika used it with the expectation it would heal the wound. That makes it more difficult to believe he'd die so conveniently.

Rika's intuition and her grief after Chaz's death were present, but given the circumstances, I think it could have been explored further. However, I am willing to believe that the initial wave of shock could have numbed its expression, while the thirst for vengeance would have further buried it until after the fulfillment of revenge, but still.

I'm joining Jen in objecting very loudly to Rika taking the baby with her. She had Hahn and Saya to babysit, people she knows and loves. In a pinch, she could probably ask Mito the Fortune-teller to do it, since she'd certainly be aware of the circumstances and would do it for love of Alys and Chaz, if not Rika. So why the bloody hell would Rika risk her baby like that?

I utterly despise present tense; I kept dragging myself out of it to deal with the mental contradiction.

All in all, pretty good, though I'd wished Rika had given Rui a good smack on the arse for being so disrespectful.
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Re: I guess I should do my own plug thread....

Postby carlsojos » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:37 pm

I've been rummaging through my trashcan of rejected stories, and a found a few I think weren't too beat-up to try releasing.

Orbital Collision, of the 2nd-Person arc. Think it stinks being the copilot of an out-of-control prototype android? It gets worse. :P

Trying Too Hard, of my Hahn arc. When you don't have parents helping to pay for your college stay, you have to find other ways to make money.

And Water, of my Neifirst arc. Neifirst is free from her goody-goody sister's meddling, but what will the angry woman do without her conscience to complain on her actions?

Needless to say, I'm trying to finish story arcs so I can explore new ones, so do break out the compliments/reviews/critisms/insults/death threats, eh?
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Re: I guess I should do my own plug thread....

Postby tilinelson2 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:52 am

Having already stated my thoughts about Water, let's go with the other two:

Orbital Collision: More of the same, it has a surprising conclusion, though. The story starts unpretentious, but end being connected deeply to PSII story. I just considered the reaction to the accident very mild. "Oh, 1,500 dead. Don't do that again." But, well, isn't military sometimes like that? :p

Trying too Hard: Your style of writing is becoming better. You are paying more attention to the elements that enrich the story, like the non-crucial things that happens between the main acts, plus inner dialogue.

There is only one thing that I have to advise you: please, stop with this "arc" thing. If you have a long story, put it on paper and release it complete. You can even publish gradually, but make sure the finished product is one and only one story. The "arc" story makes no sense, as you are not publishing a novel chapter by chapter in a periodic. This story, alone, is a two thousand word babbling just for the Hahn joke, asking Saya to sleep with her and being refused. As a chapter of a long story, it works fine, and that is an indication that it should be a chapter, not a story. Most of the bad fanfics over there are chapters artificially turned into stories.
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