The Weekly Review – Edition 30
What is New Section giving the latest info on the Forums
The intriguing Article: Submitting Help and Info Articles by Will11
An Interview with the great site member BradinDvorak
A Review of Sethaniel’s Haunted by Will11
This fantastic Short Story: A Dragon Comes Calling by Mizal
Finally, Special Section: Courtroom Comedy by Will11
What is New
In Newbie Central hugo23, happypills and Shadowninjas introduce their awesome selves to the site!
In the Lounge MinnieKing triggers a lot of interest in the Shiny Ratings Trophy!
In News and Updates JJJ-thebanisher unleashes the fourth of his great updates to transform the site!
In the Parlour Room Bucky resurrects his thread about an Alleged Dragon Story!
In the new Creative Corner Mizal’s thread asking for Dark City feedback triggers a lot of interest!
In the Writing Workshop Seto continues to rage against himself for procrastinating!
In the Reading Corner Ford looks for fellow fans of the book Their eyes were watching God!
In the Advanced Editor’s Forum silence reigns!
In the Feature Well Ogre11 resurrects ISentinelPenguin’s Thread about stopping school classes from using the site!
In the Bugs and Problems section EndMaster points out that the top rated storygames have disappeared!
Article: Submitting Help and Info Articles
I plan to publish this as an Article in the Help and Info Section but for all those users who have very kindly written and submitted new Articles to the Help and Info Section or are thinking of doing so please read this to see what kind of Articles we are looking for:
- Relatively good grammar, punctuation and spelling throughout.
- A clear format that makes it easier to read, i.e. dividing your Article into titled paragraphs rather than one big block of text.
- Freedom from obscenities, personal abuse against one member or subgroup of the site and conforming with the site's standards for writing generally.
ARTICLES FOR THE ADVANCED EDITOR SECTION
- These Articles have a high chance of being accepted if they assist site members in using a feature of the Advanced Editor BUT authors of new Articles must be careful to ensure that the information they are submitting is not already covered by the existing Articles.
- Any links to outside sites in these Articles should be tested before submission to ensure they work correctly.
ARTICLES FOR THE INTERVIEWS SECTION
- As this Section is desperately in need of new Articles any Interview with a published and reasonably successful author of Choose your Own Adventure stories orGamebooks has a high chance of being accepted.
- Reasonably successful are the key words here, don't just interview your friends. Generally speaking if the author is reasonably well known in the Gamebook world they would be an acceptable candidate for an interview.
ARTICLES FOR THE SCRIPTING SECTION
- As with the Advanced Editor section submitted articles in this section have a high chance of being accepted IF they do not already repeat information already available in the existing Articles.
- Because Scripting can be a difficult area for those unfamiliar with it authors submitting Articles in this Section should take every care to make their submissions as clear as possible.
ARTICLES FOR THE STORYWRITING SECTION
- This is by far the most over-subscribed area of the site for new Articles which usually consist of an individual site member's opinion on what constitutes good writing. Owing to the large variety of information available no article containing essentially the same information in existing Articles will be accepted.
- If the author is determined to submit an Article in this Section they should make it clear, address a specific topic not addressed by existing Articles (How to create atmospheric Horror Stories or Creating Fantasy Worlds would be two examples of currently not existing Articles) and make sure the writing of the Article is of a very high standard, written in a professional and objective manner and clearly formatted to ensure easy reading.
ARTICLES FOR THE WEBSITE SECTION
- This section of the site is also very over-subscribed and authors should make sure the information they are providing in their Article is not already covered by the existing Article.
- Authors of submitted Articles for this section should make sure their Article is about some specific feature of the Website, not about story-writing, the advanced editor or scripting as some previously submitted Articles have been.
- Submitted Articles on redundant site content or features such as Forum Games or Warrior Cats will be automatically rejected.
- Articles should be of a reasonable length, anything that’s about ten sentences long has little chance of being accepted, 500-1000 words is a good length for an Article.
- Articles should also not be about stuff that we would assume the average site member would know how to do already such as writing grammatically correct sentences or not giving other people their passwords (accepted some site members don’t know how to do that but their problems are too great for an Article to fix).
- Meeting the Standards in this Article doesn’t necessitate immediate acceptance.
Interview: Introducing BradinDvorak
1: How did you first find this site and what made you want to join?
It was the summer of 2013 and I wanted to make a game. Basically, I was looking for the simplest way to do that and interactive fiction seemed the answer, so I Googled “online interactive fiction creator” or something, and, well, now here I am.
2: How have you found this site since you have joined?
Admittedly, this site and I aren't the best of matches, but at the same time this place is weirdly and satisfactorily charming. I like to think I’m making it work.
3: What are your favourite aspects or members of the site?
Not gonna single anyone out, so I'll just say that the active userbase in general is a really cool part of this place. It’s fairly small, so you end up with a lot of familiar faces and a more laid-back feel overall. I dunno; of all the reasons why I want to stick around, I think that would be the biggest.
4: What are your least favourite aspects of the site?
I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with this site’s design. There’s this noticeable feel of outdatedness and inconsistency to CYS, and while it really plays into that aforementioned “charm”, on the other hand it’s definitely a bit of a turn off. Really, it’s mostly a lot of stuff that probably nobody but Ford and I actually care about.
5: How do you feel about the new site changes?
That they even happened notwithstanding, I have to admit it’s kind of surreal. The magnitude of these updates has been a little surprising, the removal of forum games especially being something I wouldn’t have expected. I don’t think anyone would be surprised if I said that the loss of profile scripting is the most disappointing, though. This is kinda embarrassing to admit, but my profile was probably the thing I was most proud of and I doubt I’d still be here if those “features” never existed, but at the same time I’m totally glad that stuff like that can no longer be abused. All in all, these changes are a plus, the increased update frequency is a godsend, and I’m glad we’re not passively scaring newcomers away from the Advanced Editor anymore.
6: What changes would you like to see implemented?
There is a lot of potential here, but if I had to pick just one thing, string/text variables would be keen.
On the opposite end, I’d really like to see all of those minor, low-priority spacing and graphical issues fixed.
7: Do you have any plans to write more story-games in the future?
Too many (and no; it’s not all dragons). De Labyrintho Draconis is my priority currently, and I only hope it turns out cool and enjoyable if it turns out at all.
Other things that have a slightly higher chance of actually happening are a story about monsters in a forest, a poem about merchants, and something HTML-heavy.
8: How do you see your role on the site in future?
At the very least, I’ll try to be the guy who hangs out around the Advanced Editor Forum and give some help to users who need it--y’know, if the Advanced Editor Forum ever livens up a little.
9: Any funny stories to relate?
Not entirely sure if this fits the bill--but you ever revisit something you’ve made, or something you’ve left unfinished, and realize it’s a little substandard or that you have no idea what you were actually trying to do? I’ve been going through that with my some of my older code recently, and I swear, with stuff like that it’s like ten times worse. It’s ridiculous.
10: Finally, any last words, possibly to new site members?
Use the Advanced Storygame Editor; disable the Rich-Text Editor. You can thank me later.
Review: Sethaniel’s Love and Dating Story Haunted (2007) by Will11
Sethaniel’s writing style is probably my favourite on the site and this little gem is one of his best stories: a simple premise that could have functioned equally well as a Horror or Mystery/Puzzle Story. Haunted by the ghost of a woman you need to uncover the truth about her tragic past to enable her to move on. The writing matches the title, it is haunting, emotive and economical enough to allow each reader to have their own personal reactions, based on their experiences and personalities, to the writing without being explicitly told how they should feel or react as some less experienced writers try to do.
Short in length like Snow this story is only 5/8 in length and 6/8 in difficulty, it might take a few tries to solve the mystery. This story makes fantastic use of the Item feature of the Advanced Editor (a feature that sadly I have never managed to use much in my stories) and stands as one of the site’s best examples of what good writing in conjunction with the features of the Advanced Editor can achieve. I’d recommend this story to all readers, not least for the fifteen minutes of genuine interest you will probably have in trying to solve the mystery of why the main character is haunted by such a tragic figure.
Short Story: A Dragon Comes Calling by Mizal
Elysia smiled, a bit unpleasantly. “Well, that’s your guest out there, isn’t it? It’s only polite, when it came such a long way to meet you.” And what she thought but resisted saying was that they were practically two of a kind, utterly single-minded when it came to satisfying the lust for gold in their reptile brains. Dragon and rogue, a fine pair indeed.
Kecheri stepped over and looked out the window a long moment, her gaze traveling up and down the impatient dragon’s frame. Her voice grew faint and apprehensive. “I’m not...sure...that’s such a good...”
“Look here, Kecheri. You brought this thing here. And I have enough other problems to deal with without bloody dragons showing up for breakfast. Ostemar’s stirring up trouble with the orcs in Balingholt again, for one thing.”
“Oh? I thought you killed him.”
“It didn’t stick, all right?” The paladin made an exasperated noise. “But can we please focus on the dragon? The return of the goblet and a very, very sincere apology may be enough, if the Spirits are with us. Otherwise we’ll have to fight the damn thing, and so help me...” Elysia’s hand fell to the hilt of her sword and her voice took on a dangerous edge. “...if we lose anyone as a result of your greed, you’ll not see the light of day again until Father returns to deal with you.”
Kecheri turned from the window now to regard her, face at first a mask, then with a kind of defiant insolence shining from within. The corners of her lips curved, just a little, taking on a mocking edge.
“You’re smiling. Why? You think you’ll just pick a lock and walk out of your cell?” Elysia said, pale grey fires blazing from her own narrowed eyes as she felt her anger rising. “I’ll have you chained hand and foot if that’s what it takes. I’ve dealt with criminals worse than you, do you think I can’t--”
“All right, all right, I get you.” Kecheri cut her off with a shrug, after a moment adding an unconvincing, “Your Highness.” She went on in a careless tone. “I still think you ought to be the one to deal with this. I mean, dragons would sort of be your thing, on several levels. Paladin, Princess...” Here a pointedly appraising look at Brook, then back at her. “Proooobably still a virgin, not that it’s any of my--”
Elysia had already taken two steps in her direction when, mercifully, the guard that had gone searching for the stolen goblet returned. The urge to smash the mocking smile off the thief’s face with the edge of a gauntlet was an all too familiar one, and she quelled it once again with a deep breath and quick inward prayer. When she spoke again it was to thank the guard, and her voice was calm, dignified. Queen-like. She needed to stop letting this rogue get under her skin.
She rotated the goblet in her hand, gazing at it from all sides. An elegant vessel, masterfully carved from a single piece of jade, and inlaid with gold to depict a battle in an ancient style, it was certainly beautiful. But what a hell of a thing for lives to now be at stake over.
Turning, she placed it in Kecheri’s hand, keeping her voice even. “The wizards and a squad of archers will be standing by in case you’re attacked, as will I. We’ll hope it won’t come to that, but now for your part--get out there and grovel.”
The dragon lipped water from a fountain, cracked but not quite shattered at its sudden descent. It had fared better than most of the other stonework around.
Muscles rippled under its skin when it moved, and each individual scale glittered in the morning light like a polished emerald. The creature was achingly beautiful, and unutterably frightening as well. The gently curving diamond fangs were as long as her forearm, and the reflective gold of the reptilian eyes was as hard and cold as the real thing. She had failed to appreciate any of this, moving silently in the dark of the cave to rob the sleeping beast.
Now it lifted its head suddenly and whipped its head around, looming over her with a predatory menace. Sunlight rippled and flashed along its neck at the sudden move and she was momentarily blinded. Kecheri shielded her eyes, stumbling to suddenly weakened knees. While attempting to whisk her thoughts together on the way outside, she’d considering kneeling as a show of respect and then opted against it--easier to dodge on her feet. But this was her first dragon, and she hadn’t been prepared for the primal awe and terror it invoked.
She had a rough idea of the locations of the paladin, the wizards, the archers, but she felt very alone and vulnerable out here, like a field mouse being stared down by a snake. Or a storybook princess being sacrificed to a dragon. Not that anyone would ever compare her to a princess, even in jest, but...hell, it really should be Elysia out here dealing with this thing. But she’d let Her Ladyship get under her skin again and lost any chance at convincing her. She really needed to stop doing that.
The dragon bent its head low and its nostrils flared once, twice. “You,” it said, in archaic but perfectly understandable Common. “I know your scent. Return to me that which is mine.”
The cup. Right. Kecheri reached into the cloak and fumbled for the smooth jade vessel, starting to hold it out to the dragon, and then second guessing based on the thought of her fingers juxtaposed with those awful teeth. Stretching as far out as she could, she laid the cup on the ground, and even then barely snatched her arm back in time to avoid being pinned by the taloned foot that thrust forward to press snugly, protectively down upon it.
She should probably say something. ‘Grovel’ had been the order, after all. But her mouth was dry and she struggled to find the words. “I...I’m terribly sorry, Great One. You’re, ah, right to be angry, but...”
“You DARED steal that which was mine? Four thousand years I have called Lostbarrow my home. Kings and queens knew not to defy me. Yet you, a pathetic worm? A skittering rat? You DARED lay hand on my treasure?” The dragon went on, its voice a low, deep rumble that rattled her very bones. “What shall I do to you, worm? Shall I burn you to cinders as an example? Or perhaps you shall be my slave.”
All right. This dragon was not the great unknown. Behind the teeth and the prodigious size it was just another vain, petty noble. Stomping around, making threats, demanding others give way. There was nothing new here, nothing she’d ever permit herself to fear again.
In one motion she rose.
Looking the beast right in the eye, her own face a mask of neutrality, she pulled her cloak tight around herself and spoke in a clear, calm voice. “I’m very sorry you were disturbed in your den, Great One, but you’ll be well rewarded for the inconvenience and the indignity, and you see, it was...ah, necessary, to bring you here to the palace.” She spoke at first without the slightest idea where she was going with any of this, but it was the old game, but as the words tumbled out they made a path before her, and suddenly she could see her way.
The dragon stared hard, and snorted, curls of white smoke spiraling from its nostrils. "What do you mean?”
“Well,” Kecheri said, with a little swirl of her fine cloak. She fancied she looked rather noble in it and subtly changed the inflection of her words to fit the part. “Under normal circumstances we would have approached you with all formality instead of trying to get you to come to us, but you see, we sought a dragon that was both noble enough to not allow the insult of a theft to go unchallenged, and clever and tenacious enough to track their rightful property down across a great distance.”
”That’s preposterous. Why, any dragon would travel to the end of the lands and back to sniff out so much as a single stolen coin.”
Kecheri listened and nodded sadly. “As a venerable creature of four thousand years you say that, but the sad truth is that some of the young dragons these days have diminished the reputation of your noble race. And a dragon that couldn’t or wouldn’t locate a stolen treasure would not be the kind we were looking to em--involve in a quest.” Ack. She’d almost said ‘employ’. Now that wouldn’t have gone over well.
The dragon huffed in annoyance, but sounded intrigued. Intrigued enough to refrain from an attempt to roast her just yet, anyhow. ”What do you mean, human? Speak plainly.”
“We’ve a very wealthy kingdom here, you see,” Kecheri said, reaching into her cloak and withdrawing a heavy gold panel necklace, set with a truly ridiculous number of rubies. “Wealthy enough that our beloved paladin can just leave this sort of thing lying carelessly around on tables, for instance.” She knelt briefly and placed it next to the taloned paw that held the jade cup in place. By the Spirits, she wished she could see Elysia’s face right now. “A small token for you, for hearing us out.”
“Now there’s more treasure to be had. A great deal more! A wagon load of gold, at least, to be given as tribute to you, if you could, ah...” Right, she’d implied a quest. She’d better come up with something fast. “Ah...”
“There’s a wizard in the mountains outside Balingholt, by the name of Ostemar,” came the paladin’s voice from behind her, when Kecheri failed for an increasingly nerve-wracking moment to come up with anything on her own. Elysia seemed to have gotten the idea, and astonishingly, had the sense to just go with it. “We know that dragons have no love for Chaos, or the Undying, and he is an abomination, enthralled to the powers of both, and raising an army of orcs to wreak havoc on the land.”
”So, you wish me to slay this unnatural wizard?”
Elysia bowed her head slightly. “We beseech you, and in return, yes, as the th-- as this one has said, we would offer a great deal of treasure as a token of our gratitude.“
A deep chuckle. ”A wagon load?”
“Oh, a wagon load at least,” Kecheri chimed in. Elysia turned a moment to regard her with what to an outside observer would seem a perfectly neutral expression, but Kecheri recognized as meaning something along the lines of ‘if I were not a paladin I would strangle you in your sleep’. Well, whatever. She’d had, literally, a wagon load of gold when she’d been ‘recruited’ to serving the paladin and her father a few years back. Let the dragon have it, if she couldn’t.
”Mmm. Balingholt, is it?” The dragon’s long, flexible neck rotated side to side as it gazed this way and that, considering. Kecheri fidgeted as the minutes ticked by. Finally, the creature turned back to them, and gave a slight nod. “Very well. Humans...are very bold these days, but it’s true that I am unparalleled among dragons, and would suffer not such a foul wizard to live. I will go to Balingholt, and sniff out the corruption of Chaos as I sniffed out my stolen goblet. But do not forget, that you shall owe me.
Elysia bowed her head again and murmured something in the affirmative.
”You might want to go inside now,” the dragon was helpful enough to suggest, and they both beat a hasty retreat just before the powerful wings began to beat against the ground and it launched itself into the air.
Kecheri waited a few polite moments as everyone assembled watched the great dragon dwindle in the distance, then gave Elysia a little pat on the hand. “See? I handled that for you. Wasn’t so hard. You’re welcome.” Ducking out the door, she made haste to lose herself among the vast palace grounds, before the paladin could reply. Or ask for the return of that lovely cloak.
Elysia sensed Brook stepping up behind her, and shook her head slightly at the elf’s almost amused expression, slipping a gauntlet off and reaching up to rub at her temples. Already she could feel another headache coming on.
Special Section: Courtroom Comedy
Courtrooms are not traditionally thought of as funny places: serious discussions that will affect the future of peoples’ lives take place there. However a friend of mine was in court recently on some ABH charges and told me that she found the sheer seriousness of the place seemed to give her an irrational sort of nervous laughter reaction. With this in mind I’ve trawled the internet to find some amusing examples of things that have actually (allegedly) been said in courtrooms before:
Lawyer: Now Mrs Johnson, how was your first marriage terminated?
Witness: By death.
Lawyer: And by whose death was it terminated?
Lawyer: Can you describe what the person who attacked you looked like?
Witness: No. He was wearing a mask.
Lawyer: What was he wearing under the mask?
Witness: Er… his face?
Lawyer: How old is your son, the one living with you?
Witness: Thirty-eight or thirty-five. I can’t remember which.
Lawyer: How long has he lived with you?
Witness: Forty-five years.
Lawyer: Sir, what is your IQ?
Witness: Well I can see pretty well I think.
Lawyer: What happened then?
Witness: He told me had to kill me.
Lawyer: Did he kill you?
Lawyer: Now sir, I am sure you are an intelligent and honest man.
Witness: Thank you. If I weren’t under oath to tell the truth I’d return the compliment.
Lawyer: Do you know how many months you are pregnant?
Witness: It will be three months on November 8.
Lawyer: So August 8 would be the date of conception?
Witness: I guess so.
Lawyer: What were you doing at the time?
Lawyer: Have you lived in this town all your life?
Witness: Not yet.
Lawyer: Did you ever spend all night with this man in Washington?
Witness: I refuse to answer that question.
Lawyer: Did you ever spend all night with this man in New York?
Lawyer: Did you ever spend all night with this man in Miami?
Lawyer: What is your marital status?
Witness: Fair, occasional arguments.
Lawyer: Remember Gary, all your responses should be oral. Now, which school did you go to?
Lawyer: How old are you?
Lawyer: Do you have any suggestions as to what prevented this attempted murder trial from becoming a murder trial?
Witness: The victim lived.
Lawyer: Were you shot in the fracas?
Witness: No sir. I was shot midway between the fracas and the navel.
Lawyer: What did the doctor tell you was the description of the body after he performed the autopsy?
Witness: He described it as “dead”.
Lawyer: Do you have a romantic relationship with that woman?
Witness: No, I’m married to her.
As Always, Thank You for taking the time to read this Review.
Another amazing review!
Ahahahaha I wish people were always such smart alecs or just so stupid it's funny in court all the time. Mizal, I loved the short story. Writing is perfect as ever but I was a little confused by all the [b]'s, though that's probably just wonky computer stuff that I don't understand. Thank you for another great weekly review, Will!
OMG stop using so many fucking tags. Do you realize I could have banned multiple people in the same amount of time I spent fixing your shit?
Anyway the tags are fixed now.
Keep up the good work Willy!
Also, what are those probable html tags in mizal's story? Why are they in parentheses? Did Will use the really buggy rich text editor? I guess we Will never know.
Will you not? You must have a weak willpower to post such a lame joke...
Ah funny :D How do I turn off or disable the RTE? :)
Yeah. Sadly, you have to use HTML tags. It would be good to turn it off though as it could do things the rich editor can't. Here's a site that can help you learn these so called 'HTML tags'.
HTML stands for:
Calling me hairy, and cruel enough to munch on a poor Lambosauras >~>
Nooo, you'd be the Lambosauras eating the turkey.
Fantastic review. Another win for the Architects.
No; thank you.