Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, May 1, 2016.
Current favourite trend on L-O <3
My re-post will also likely include the alternate ending I changed at the last minute.
Indeed, it requires some effort to give constructive feedbacks. Not counting the problem related to "don't reveal what your story is".
But, given how much I appreciate the reviews of my story, I think it was also my duty to do the same!
Now you're making me feel bad about not giving reviews - perhaps I should perhaps I will - I'd have to break it down in stages - My attention Span has varying lengths as long as a piece of string at times and as long as a piece of string at others - as you can tell from this broad spectrum there is a vast gap between when I can focus on something at length and.....squirrel.
Don't worry, it's not mandatory.
Plus, the last thing I want is to make feel bad Slannta. I fear warpstone coal.
Just voted. Took me long enough to decide and I'm still not sure i'm fully satisfied with my decision. The spread of the votes weren't how i expected them either. Good to see there's still only a few votes between the top competitors: I want this competition drawn and tense.
Go here if you want a drawn competition.
Here are my first 5/15 reviews I will aim to do 5 a day so should get the next written up soon -
Watching things burn:
I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptive writing in this piece the author knows how to paint an effective and realistic picture with a great understanding of the English language. As you read this story you can really feel like you are part of it - my only bugbear with the piece is the use of a "megaphone" unfortunately for a split second this breaks the spell for me, it is altogether too technological sounding in my mind. I would have much preferred if the author had described the projection of the voice through other mediums even if that medium acted as a megaphone I.e a horn or something? Or perhaps just a voice altering enchantment for the purposes of addressing the crowd.
Another thing I really liked about this story is the use of speech and how well it is implemented there is a lot of back and forth conversation and I envy them for this, speech is something I really struggle with in my story telling and they have mastered it.
In my opinion the anti-hero theme is tackled well here we have an unsuspecting character who makes some morally questionable choices for what we can only deem to be the greater good. It is unclear to me whether he smothers his mentor with the pillow that he reaches for or simply aides his passing with a final act of kindness before betraying his wishes later. Either option implies betrayal somewhere along the line and to be honest I like a little bit of ambiguity in what I'm reading.
Watching things burn addresses the Old Ones Great Plan in a very clever way using the character's interpretation of it and having someone other than the Slann take matters into their own hands(claws?). I rated this story very highly it was the first one I read and it set the bar high for the competition.
Ultimately this story ended up winning one of my votes so congratulations to the author for this.
The King of Lustria:
This story set the scene to lead up to an epic battle between two giant foes, the author has a nac for describing things on a large scale. You can really get a sense of just how big "Teocipactli"is. There are good uses of description especially in relation to anatomy.
As much as I like the lead character in this story the issue of anti-hero seems to have been lost in translation to me. The beast is large and hunts and kills in a very much expected manner. Perhaps he is an anti-hero because he joins in to fight for lizardmen smaller than himself however in the story we are told he is looking for a worthy challenge so I have a feeling his motives are far more selfish.
I enjoyed the use of many different troop types and their parts to play in the ongoing battle, we hear of the terradons in the sky attempting to move out of the way; the Slann commanding the troops, we hear of a scar veteran astride his carnosaur forced to hunt smaller prey and we see how the pecking order of the dinosaurs of lustria works as bastilion and stegadon part like the red sea and of course we see the enemy troops being obliterated by the lizardmen (Huzah).
When we get to end scene there is a great back and forth between the two large opponents the author made it really suspenseful in this way - truly without reading you could not know who would win this fight. This story ranked highly in my overall scores list, though In the end it narrowly missed out on a vote sorry to the author for this.
Eyes on the Sun:
The narration of this story is handled very well - the scene is set almost immediately in a clear and informative fashion. Very shortly after we are introduced to the main character Jao. The author cleverly indicates that Jao has a secret and this is the hook that makes this story a real contender.
As we follow the lead character we are willing him to succeed in the face of great odds we can really emphasises with his struggle through the desert and its arid conditions - at one point in the story I really believed he was giving up. This whole scene reminded me of pirates of the caribbean where jack sparrow is trapped on a desert island - but as we know up is down and there is always hope. So too this story had hope for Jao.
The reveal of the gecko and the main character's ability to see through its eyes as though there were his own was a nice surprise. A surprise I liked very much it made him even more unique.
There is further hopelessness for Jao not in the form of the environment but in his in-ability negotiate terms with the Elves. I think this is the main reason he works well as an Anti-hero in the form of the underdog he comes through in the end...well no he appears to fail at his mission leaving with permanent damage and nothing to show for it. He is a brilliant anti-hero because he doesn't quite become the hero we want him to be. I really felt for this character and was horrified when the elves pinned him down. I don't know if they ever helped the lizardmen in the end but they let Jao live for a reason - pity perhaps.
I really struggled to find anything to criticise in this story the only thing I would possibly alter is implementing a small scene where the gecko shows some form of affection or gratitude towards Jao before he scurries off into the desert, like how a cat rubs up against a human affectionately for food . Other than that this was a top notch entry.
The author of this story should be very proud it was one I ended up voting for in the end.
Pirates of the Dragon Isles:
This had to be one of my overall favourite stories of the competition - i'm genuinely surprised it didn't get more votes. It has got a lot (at the time of writing) deservingly so I just figured it would be a shoo in for gold, silver or bronze. I guess this is down to personal taste and goes to show how fierce this competition was fought.
I have nothing but praise for this story it took the theme in a direction that even the Old Ones didn't see coming. The author gripped me with their nautical tale i'll be honest at first I wasn't sure if the crew were lizardmen to begin with but that definitely heightened the impact of the lizardmen pirates. He/She expertly emulates the actions of each social role of the lizardmen in their writing. although there doesn't seem to be too much emphasis on one particular anti hero asides from the saurus captain and his interpreter, I very much felt that the pirate crew as a whole where the anti-heros of the story. They are acting in a tyrannous way but their heroism comes from plundering what was taken from them in the first place.
The issue of language barrier was dealt with very competently with the introduction of an interpreter which is always the first step for cultural cross relations.
The way the special characters in the story are described immediately made me think of how they would like as models and this I think is the highest honor I can afford them, short of making the models .
It will come as no shock that I voted for this story - well done to its creator.
I love how the author draws us into a cold and mysterious situation with fantastic use of environment and setting, one of my favourite lines across all stories was "There was blood on the floor and dead bodies were hinted at in the gloomy darkness". If you're aiming for mystery and suspense then you hit a bullseye with this. It really creates a powerful image in my imagination and I hope in others too.
I get a sense that English is not the first language of this author which is fine if it isn't it's a thought I overlooked easily due to the content of the story. (The reason I think this is because of sentences that read like this "The great hall were burned to the ground." i’d just like to clarify that this wasn’t an issue for myself - English is my first language and my writing will likely have similar errors - In fact I had to spell check these reviews.
The author uses a dying woman to progress the story in a very interesting way the old lady informs both us and the (anti-) hero that he is the only hope left, and it gets better we get more mystery with the final words of the dying woman being:
"The star lizards never came…."
I really like how the main character remains unnamed in the story it heightens the aura of the unknown in the piece and makes me want to learn more. It was a shock to find him turn into a werewolf -wereman (Whichever). There are some really nice descriptive examples in this body of work, with a few alterations on the translation this story will really shine.
My main issue with the story is that the main character in my view is more akin to your archetypal hero than an anti-hero - He fights of raiders and respectfully closes the eyes of the fallen.
Sadly this story didn't get one of my votes but it did contain some of my favourite bits I hope this is some consolation for the author.
My second lot of reviews:
The Fireblade's Challenge:
This author has a high command of descriptive language in particular he/she uses a vivid range colours to enhance their storytelling. There is an abundance of great character interaction throughout the whole of the text that really resonates in the reader's mind as being as close to realistic as one could hope for. I love the use of Ratmen and lizardmen in the story particularly in the way they talk to one another "scale-thing" & "Rat-sorcerer" by reducing one another to their primitive descriptions we get a real sense of how the races view one another. There are many ingenious speech patterns used for each individual character and this is what makes the story so much more involved for me. This is another story that (at the time of writing) I am surprised didn't get more votes. If I was as good at speech as this author I'd write one up to an audience to explain just how much I enjoyed this story.
The issue of anti-hero - I'm unsure of the anti-hero(s) in this story - that is to say is there one or two? "Thanquol" is my obvious choice as he helps a lizardman to accomplish the hostile takeover of "Mixcoatl". But then it is "Ankhachic’qo" who kills his own kind. I'm going to say they are both Anti-hero's and I love both characters equally!
The story is excellently told all the way through and finishes with a powerful ending that I didn't forget in a hurry. I definitely want to see more from this author.
Congratulations whomever wrote this story it got my vote!
This story begins with the relationship of brothers as we join them mid conversation amidst a battlefield. They seem to be in a position of safety in order converse however there is a sense of rushed urgency in the tone of the piece as they talk battle tactics. In fact this leads to one of my other favourite lines of the whole competition: "it was still an open wound. The Keep was swarmed by rats… wave after wave, an endless sea of furry scum." This description of the invasion of Chasm's Keep is both amusing and gritty.
I feel the author gives the dwarves a blunt brevity to their conversation at times which is very in keeping with how I personally feel dwarfs talk, if you've seen Lord of The Rings then you can see that Gimli talks in short bursts. I absolutely loved the referring to dwarf children as "beardlings".
The tale begins with a well thought out and confidently illustrated (by words) battle between Skaven and Dwarfs, for a long time I thought that lizardmen would not be present in the story at all. When they are introduced they are done so in the most brilliant way imaginable - streams of them flowing through a portal to aide the dwarfs in battle! Fantastic, it literally (not even joking) gave me happy Goosebumps my inner voice is screaming (Oh my god this is so cool!) unfortunately this falls down slightly at the last hurdle - I do think the author could have chosen a better end line for the story or created a nice cliff hanger.
The anti-hero box seems to be ticked in my mind inadvertently through spilling blood the main character manages to chance upon some reinforcements.
I wish I had more votes this story came so close to getting one - So many great bits to be proud of and using the lizardmen as tertiary characters was a stroke of genius.
Round of applause for the internal narration of this story we're transported inside the head of the main character from the very first line. The writing has a real undertone of humour that adds an extra dimension to the story and the character telling it.
The scene is set for an underdog in the face of the star lizards. I'm a little disappointed by the main character talking to the lizardmen when they are distracted for two reasons (although I am torn as this is fitting with his character) firstly he's an idiot for drawing attention to himself, his strategy as he self proclaimed positively focused on staying alive. Secondly it reminded me of a cinematic sequence you might expect from a blundering inadvertently arrogant hollywood hero (anti-hero). I feel the scene is important though as it ventures and interesting solution to the language barrier between two races. I was disappointed that when asked what he called himself the seraphon responded "Starpriest" I just feel like this would have been a nice time to introduce a lizardmen sounding name rather than a troop type (Just my opinion please don't shoot me).
When the collar is revealed to the other villagers they assume it is stolen this is a nice touch as it would be a realistic assumption that something seemingly of value would not belong to Ash.
I have to be honest when I say that I really can't get over Ash calling the lizardmen "buddies" all the time, for me this just let the speech of the story down.
The issue of anti-hero is tackled really well in this fable we are lead to believe that the underdog is going to save all his villagers by complying with the Lizardmen only to find out that they are being corralled like cattle at the end. The idea is a really good one though It would seem more fitting for the Lizardmen to over run a village without the ruse of impending demons, Perhaps the starpriest is the anti-hero for this reason - being able to trick ash in an unconventional way.
I hope the author doesn't feel I have been too critical of this story - It has many shining parts worthy of the Old Ones - I am critical because I care - the foundation idea and much more of this story is superb.
This wasn't one I voted for though it's definitely one to keep an eye on. Fortunately for the author, the forum (at time of writing) is right behind the story and rightly so it's in no means a bad story it just fell short for my own personal opinion.
"'From dust we came and to dust we return. Motes we are in the eternity of stars. Until we are but memories slowly turning to dust.' – Hrasssk the Seer"
I'm not familiar enough with the lizardmen lore to know whether this quote is of the authors origin or cleverly inserted quote. Either way it's a cleverly inserted quoted. It really sets the tone from the get go. The author keeps the feel of the story aloof like a wisp on the wind you feel as though you are following the words of a ghost elegantly dancing through the memory of its past.
I really like the ending of this story although there is friction between the races there is also understanding and collaboration between Skaven and Lizardmen as indicated by sharing a common enemy. I feel this story is more geared towards the Skaven and suspect it was an entry by our friends over on the Skaven forums (Though I could be wrong I'm probably wrong...I'm normally wrong).
I really enjoyed this author's use of descriptive ability in the skirmishes that take place throughout the story, they are skilfully written and paint a detailed picture of the combat. I am looking forward to hearing more from this author in the future.
Unfortunately this submission didn't get one of my votes...
My heart beats for this author...
I wonder what the real me would have done...
The Forgotten Slann:
I wanted to begin by saying:
"You can’t make a new Slann especially a first generation - you know nothing of Lizardmen"
I wanted to...but I can't.
The author brings this character to life in a way that would make even Luluni jealous. I liked how the narration led us through the creation of the environment in real time with the lead character. Although the story is narrated to a good standard I feel it could be improved with addition of some thoughts and feelings along the way.
The minor characters Siti and Soto don't get much of a look in - is this intentional to show they are of lesser importance or an oversight by the author?
The author tackles a grand scale story rather well until the end where it all seems a bit rushed. I can forgive this in part due to the addition of poetry at the end this is a nice touch that felt like it could have been an inscribed warning carved out for the future Lizardmen to read.
I'm unsure of the issue of anti-hero for this piece I feel for Luluni and his failings but he doesn't quite convince Mazdamundi and ends up cursing the Lizardmen - I guess this is where the anti-hero bit kicks in - if his warning is true then he is a hero for trying.
I'm sorry to the author that this story didn't get my vote there just wasn't enough connection to the thoughts and feelings of the character.
Am enjoying your thought-things, scale-thing. Did my story-scratching get assassin-critiqued already? Hee hee, my secret-things have secret-things.
Just the last 5 stories to review tomorrow sorry to keep those authors waiting
I'll just be lurk-waiting until then. Or will I?
I have a funny feeling I've covered your story - though I could be wrong I'm usually wrong
Was anyone listening to Bob at the start? Did he mention a date when the voting ended?
Really? No-one paid attention? Just like normal then- oh hi @spawning of Bob, didn't notice you were online.
And I am grateful for your vote-thing.
You're making it a real challenge to guess which one is yours @spawning of Bob
Hmm, Fireblade, Pirates or Eyes on the sun? Which did Bob write-scribe?
Oh yeah, @SlanntaClause, I checked out your lists of places to buy Lizardmas presents in your signature. I now know where to blow the sixty pounds I got for my exam results. Cheers!
Part the second!
Story Six: Fun fact about Ratty Y’ttar, I really dislike writing established/named characters, especially ones that have featured in BL works. To me, a character is the offspring of their author who breathes life into them through flicks of ink and scribbled word. Hence, I often feel uncomfortable tackling a named character, god, or Councillor from the Co. XIII since I’m trying to capture the voice shaped by someone else. From memory, I’ve written Ironscratch (which was a cop out as the character was Ironscratch’s public face/executioner), Kritislik (whom I felt I didn’t do justice to), the Horned Rat (who cameos at least once in nearly all of my sagas), and Deathmaster Snikch (a horrible portrayal that has him as a friendly pubgoer.) Thus, I commend the author of this piece for not only bravely including a figure like Thanquol but also pulling off the character quite perfectly.
So for a change I’m going to talk about characters first. As I said above, the character of Thanquol was dead on, even down to his twitchiness. Both he and the unnamed Boneripper were handled very subtly enough to avoid stealing the centre stage and truly felt like Thanquol and Boneripper. In fact, the Queekish (or at least translated Skaven tongue to foul lizard-thing chirp-squeaks) was pulled off very expertly, kinda a mix between the William King and C. L. Werner versions of Skaven speech. If this author isn’t on the UnderEmpire, I strongly recommend they at least join and copy over this entry to there. The Saurus meanwhile felt pretty true to form with a nice balance between their simplistic mind set and yet with enough character to make them relatable.
It seems a theme for this contest for these entries to be potentially leading off onto a spin off series/full novel worth and this entry is easily with these others. What is Thanquol planning this time? What will happen to our Scar-Vet friend? How will Thanquol mess this one up (we all know he will, like everything he does in life!)?
This piece in regards to pacing is pretty solid. It rumbles along slow enough for the reader to appreciate the details and dialogue but flows enough for the story to not lose its focus.
As far as criticism goes, this is one of the hardest pieces to find anything of note. There’s maybe a few minor errors that another proof reading might iron out, for example the full stop instead of the comma in: “Ankhachic’qo wheeled his black dragonling mount about. and it pounded back towards the main army.” Aye, I’m reduced to that level of nitpicking! I guess I’m not so sure I buy the Scar-Vet at least trying to blat Thanquol after he’d given up this sword, sure there’s no honour in it, but at least you won’t have to pay back the obviously evil ratman.
In all an excellent piece!
Story Seven: Dwarf-things!
*A small white rat scampers past and pauses to glare*
I mean...foul dwarf-things. We must kill-slay them all!
Ahem. I was very quickly enveloped by this piece. The futile last stand of the Dwarfs, the mounting tension as the glorious evil Skaven drew in closer, and the despair of the protagonist were elegantly presented. I cannot fault the pacing of this entry which kept me enthralled throughout.
The characters felt like true Dwarfs, especially their attitudes and mindset. If I had one gripe it would be that the main character was still an oath-breaking coward at the end. That he would even leave the Oathstone is Slayer Oath worthy, if he wanted to save the women and children he should have ordered one of the youngest Ironbreakers to go and lead them out. I’m more than a little surprised that the Ironbreakers didn’t cut him down for fleeing despite who he was. Though maybe the sin of kin-slaying is what held them back. I dunno. I think without the Oathstone it might have been a bit more believable for me that he’d still abandon them.
The Skaven foes were mostly absent from this entry apart from a few distant descriptions of the battle from Thordrek’s point of view and the assassin towards the end. I liked this approach as it made the Skaven seem more like a looming threat of a massive scale. There’s no clear single antagonist, it’s just a faceless vermin tide.
The ending was a satisfying one (despite the fact he did still abandon an Oathstone, cowardly elgi-loving...I mean...neek-neek take-get Warpstone?) with the Skinks hopefully saving the day.
Otherwise, there were a few better vocabulary choices I think the author could have made here and there to further enhance the piece. However, this was a very enjoyable entry.
Story Eight: I couldn’t help but read this entry like it was an old Goosebumps book (a very good one at that.) I haven’t seen first person past tense for quite a while and I feel that the author has pulled it off very nicely.
The narrative is consistent and remains interesting throughout, again I think the pacing is just right for this piece. Slow enough for the build-up of tension but quick enough that it doesn’t get bogged down in details.
The main character was kinda likable at the start in the cocky kid hero sort of way...until he went mad with power. Then he became an annoying little git who got what was coming to him. Very nice work on the author’s part in making him a right little brat. The lizards meanwhile were true to form, though a special shout out has to go to the Skink whose use of the word “Ash” was brilliant. When the Great Ascension comes, that Skink gets to live.
The ending itself was a perfect twist, very nicely done!
Story Nine: More Skaven! Scalenex? I thought we got rid of their invasion forces? I think us lizard-things need to set a few more cheese-baited traps.
I did really dig the little quote at the start; sound rather Yoda-ish it did. In addition the choice of basing it in first person present tense is very ballsy as there’s a lot that can go wrong doing so, but I’d say the author pulled that off marvellously, keeping the mood and character progression going without things getting too difficult to read.
I’m going to start with characters again as this was the real strong point of this piece. Wow. The author has managed a nice little balancing act between the single-mindedness of the saurus and yet has given him so many layers of character. Something I noticed was how he kept struggling to remember the names of his companions (in fact his own name only seems to appear once throughout the whole piece.) Which made me wonder, is he a faulty memory or has the ‘master’ made sure he was reconstructed in a certain way? It makes me wonder if Tox can be anything but a weapon despite obviously showing more than a glimmer of intelligence. Perhaps the author can clarify if they are a part of Bob’s wave three thingy. I for one would like to know. The villain, Ironfur, was pretty imposing...even if it turned out to be a decoy. Another question-thing for the author, is Ironfur meant to be a Skaven Doctor Doom? But I digress, assuming Ironfur (or at least his decoy) was a Grey Seer (or adept in the case of the decoy) I think that might be one of the most badass Seers I’ve seen.
Then we come to the Inquisirat. It was fun to see a very colourful Skaven character that mixed in an uncharacteristic streak of Skaven badassery...though I wanted some Monty Python quotes!
Pacing was solid, I think if the author had added any more it might have ground on too slowly, so very nice job on getting that balance right. Especially given the style the author has used. Muchly impressive. I did think the fight scenes maybe were a little lacklustre after all the build-up of Tox’s inner dialogue, but eh, I’m not one for action anyway.
Anyway, a thrilling tale with a very intriguing and symbolic end.
Story Ten: Loved the character of the First Gen Slann. The ‘God’ on a dead planet transforming it into a bountiful garden with but the godly power at his fingers was very nice to visualise. In fact, I think any more character for Luluni would have taken away his god-like presence.
In a way it’s a shame that there wasn’t much about the two minor characters brought into being. However, I think that may have been the point, in the ideal creation they would lack individuality other than their task. That said, I personally would have liked to have seen some kind of ‘fault’ in their making that makes them more individual (kinda like how Asimov’s robots had a tendency to create beauty or learn to feel from a fault in their brain circuitry.)
Pacing felt fairly good for the first half though I felt it dragging a bit towards the end. Not sure exactly why. Although I feel the story ended a bit too abruptly for my liking, I certainly left wanting something a little more.
That said, I still thoroughly enjoyed this entry. The lines waxed on beautifully in places, the cryptic poem prophecy was a lovely addition, and the piece leaves the reader with many questions yet unanswered.
There are more to come I know a few more nice places but haven't got models from them yet due to being poor myself - I haven't linked the others I know yet due to the links being on my Chromebook and my memory's like a siv? (its official I can't spell) anyhow I would defiantly get the frog king at some point only issue is its from USA I think and I have to see about import charges.