Northwind is professor for various different disciplines at various different universities in various countries. He is the author of a number of books (although nothing that you would have read) and quite a lot of technical papers. You might have seen reporting about his work in National Geographic, Time and The Wall Street Journal.
He prides himself on a number of technical skills that are almost entirely useless outside his own imagination. These include extinct martial arts, programming, quaint webdesign, obscure algebra and the ability to make sense of almost everything
He spends his time on mysterious online sites run by a bunch of weird enthusiasts.
I need help with variabales
on 7/6/2020 2:16:11 PM
%myvar1 := %myvar2+%myvar3
on 7/5/2020 6:36:12 AM
Wow this was pretty great. Would love to read more! It sounds like the beginning of a fascinating story ...
So for feedback let me put my super critical hat on:
- A very minor thing is that the breaks in the middle of a word are a bit too much of a good thing. An mdash in the middle of a sentence is dramatic, in the middle of a word it is overdoing it.
- I was really intrigued by the opening but almost lost interest when the action started. The reason is that there is too little build up to the action and when it starts there are still many things left to explain. Even a surprise attack needs to be foreshadowed a little bit. A good device is to build the tension up, then dial bit down for a paragraph, say with some mundane dialog and then the attack hits:
"LILLLLLYY Run! Get out of her-." could be the most climactic line, but it did not work on me. The reason was partly that I was still confused by the paragraphs before, but more importantly I almost I was distracted by discovering my name was Lily (ok guess I should have read your preamble but I was more interested in the story itself). That changed my perception of the POV character significantly, and having to come to terms with that made it hard to follow the action. Generally speaking you want to get stuff like this out of the way before the action starts.
The other problem with this paragraph is that there also the mother showing up. As a reader, if I am in the action I don't have time to focus on that at that moment. I wanted to know how the swordfight played out. A solution to this could be to have the dialog there without explanation perhaps even 'you hear a woman's voice shout'. And only later have Lily think who that voice belonged to. You might have some explaining to do why she did not recognize her immdiately, but that can be done "The voice had sounded strained, panicked even, yet hauntingly familiar..."
- Generally you want to get all the explanations out of the action to increase the pace. Here are some examples of sentences that could be moved up into the introduction:
"You know luna is aware of you and your father's magical ability but your father always made it a point To hide the fact he uses illusions." (actually the two paragraphs above this sentence are all explanations that could have come up in the intro, also remember show-don't-tell)
"Fortunately your father hoards rare materials and items."
"This allows him to conserve mana focuses on the fight, and have the enemies at a disadvantage with false knowledge of the battle field."
- In fast paced scenes you also want to make every word count compare: "You waste no time firing off a fire ball at the werewolf, but the wizard wastes no time summoning a wall of water to cancel out the fire." with "You fling a fireball at the werewolf, but with a have of his hand the mage raises a wall of water and your fire is drowned in a great cloud of steam." The phrase 'waste no time' actually wastes time, it's needless words.
- The paragraph
"In then with a flash of lightning the sky rips open forcing time to move forward. You aren't sure if the man just appeared or if he moved faster than you could see when the lighting struck, but either way he stands now in front of your father. He is dressed in leather armor holding a sword above his head. Although time has resumed the bounty hunter remains frozen."
is quite confusing. This may due to "In then" but I also think making time stop needs a bit more work. For example describe with a brief sentence how drops of moisture now hang motionless in the air.
- Some sentences don not really do justice to the events: "You realize that a fireball is mere inches away from your father. Fortunately his sword cuts through it, disenchanting the magic." In the first sentence saying it is "inches away from him" means by the time I have read the sentence he is either dead or the situation has been resolved, not much tension either way. How about "Your attention is caught by a flare of light some distance off the path. Crouching in the bushes is a mage forming a ball of fire. You watch in horror as he launches the flaming sphere at your father's head. Has father seen him at all, you wonder. "
- Generally, I found Lily to be a little bit too conveniently out of most of the action. I felt I was never in danger. It would make it much more engaging if my father had to save my life 5 times in the fight and it would also make subsequent fights, when he isn't there anymore to protect me much more intense.
Who wants their childhood ruined?
on 7/4/2020 3:43:31 PM
Mordor is inspired by J.R.R. Tolkiens experiences on the battlefields of the first world war. Poisonous gas, toxic pools, Flanders had it all.
The Wizard of Oz is actually a book about monetary policy. (I am not making this up)
On a positive note: I went to a writing workshop that was funded by proceeds from the rights to Winnie the Pooh.
Are there any Specifics on pictures?
on 7/3/2020 3:06:28 AM
You have to be a bit careful. If you use copyrighted material without licence the copyright holder can in principle send you an invoice for an appropriate licensing fee.
However it is usually easy to find high quality free stuff that is in the public domain or usable under a creative commons licence.
on 6/30/2020 2:29:48 AM
I find it hillarious when people order a still St. Pellegrino, because St. Pellegrino is one of them.
on 6/29/2020 8:39:29 AM
Thomas Beddoes was one of the most notable English physicians of the early 19th century. He founded the Pneumatic Institution, where he tried to cure various ailments of patients by inhaling different gases. For example he tried to cure tuberculosis by having patients inhale cow's breath.
But matters improved when Beddoes hired 20-year old Humphrey Davy, now counted among the grandfathers of chemistry. Davy purified several gases and also tested them personally.
Inhaling carbon monoxide did not work out too well, but Davy survived.
Nitrous oxide was a bigger success. Davy and Bedoes discovered its anesthetic properties, which meant that for the first time surgery could be performed with anesthesia.
However, Davy was more interested in recreational uses of Nitrous oxide, which he freely shared with several writers, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
When Coleridge, who had a heroin addiction since childhood, took Nitrous Oxide he had dark visions which he described in his most famous work, the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
">" Not working with "AND"
on 6/29/2020 2:46:20 AM
Still sounds very much like a bug to me.
on 6/29/2020 2:38:50 AM
Fun fact: Romans used asbestos tablecloth. If it gets dirty you just throw it into the fire to clean it.
I am really surprised that no related technology has made it into fantasy literature. A mineral that can be mined and woven into a cloth seems to fit right in with dwarven culture. Protection against fire would be a very welcome added benefit.
If only Balin had known ...
How come this isn't working?
on 6/28/2020 2:39:38 PM
Just tried, that does not seem to work together with 'and' either.
How come this isn't working?
on 6/28/2020 12:42:20 PM
'>=' does not work with 'AND'